A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Saturday, October 23, 2004


In today’s first reading, St. Paul speaks of Christ’s very special gift to the Church: ministers.

Of course, some parishioners might wish they could take that particular gift back.

Indeed, some people have such an egalitarian view of things that they reject the very idea of ministers? Why should I need a middleman between me and God?

Why? Because as finite human creatures, while we can discern something about God based solely on the evidence of the created world and our own human reason, by our own power alone we cannot relate to the infinite, eternal God. We can enjoy a relationship with God only on the terms that He sets, because only He can make such a relationship possible.

As it turns out, God chooses to establish a relationship with us on our own level, working through human intermediaries and most perfectly through His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.

Christ continues this dynamic in part through His gift of minsters: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, as St. Paul describes.

Beyond the incarnational dimension, St. Paul describes additional benefits of Christ’s gift of ministers to the Church: to equip other members of the Church for their own ministry or service, to build up the Church as the Body of Christ, and to attain the unity of faith.

All of this helps get us away from a situation where, in St. Paul’s words, we may no longer be "tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery."

We see this benefit manifested in a very special way in ecclesial communities that have maintained the ancient interrelated structure of ministers, with pastors and bishops and so forth. It is no accident that these Churches historically have been the least likely to be "swept along by every wind of teaching" or cultural fad.

Yet, no matter what ecclesial community we may belong to, where we fit within it, or what manner of gift we may be, we should strive toward greater perfection in Christ, as individuals and as parts of the whole, in the words of St. Paul,

living the truth in love,
we should grow in every way
into him who is the head,
from whom the whole Body,
joined and held together
by every supporting ligament,
with the proper functioning of each part,
brings about the Body's growth
and builds itself up in love.