WITH ST. MARY'S
THE THIRTY-THIRD IN ORDINARY TIME
Modelling our church and relationships after God will produce abundant goodness.
THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Contrary to popular opinion, the Catholic Church is not a hierarchical institution with authority only for those at the top; the Catholic Church is the Church instituted by Christ, which perfects humanity’s relationship with God. Any good and faithful Catholic should be able to look at their life and realize that the manifestation of their faith stretches far beyond the walls of a church or the seat of a bishop. As Catholics, we are given responsibility over our individual selves and those entrusted to us, allowing the Church to flourish at its smallest elements. There is a reason why we call the family the “Domestic Church” - it is just as much a reflection of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb from the book of Revelation as our experiences with the sacraments are.
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
The gift of individuality entrusted to the faithful should empower us to see the Church as more than just what we do or where we go on Sundays. Part of being faithfully Catholic is to allow the faith to permeate all aspects of our lives; we are blessed to have the direction and leadership of the Ecclesial hierarchy to instruct us on how to live according to faith and morals, allowing us to implement the Church in our lives on a daily basis. However, the routine that is naturally part of being faithful to the Church is more than just establishing order so that we may live life more fulfilled or content. While it’s great to have a system in place to model your own life after, the purpose of all the rules and morals of Catholicism is so that we are prepared for whatever comes our way. The rules are not meant to be adhered to reluctantly, but joyfully: living according to the teachings of our faith makes life exponentially better for us. We are healthier in our relationships, more prepared for difficult times, better neighbors, more loving and more willing to sacrifice, and the list goes on. The absolute best way for many of us to see the fruits of our faith being put into action is in marriage. What should begin with joy and excitement will flourish into a relationship that epitomizes the human experience. There are good times and bad times, selflessness and selfishness, sacrifice and gift-giving, but most importantly love. All the elements that made it joyful and exciting at its beginning pass away and turn into something far greater: a model of Christ’s relationship with his Church. In this Sunday’s first reading from Proverbs, we are reminded that a relationship modeled after God’s relationship with us cannot possibly be rooted in superficiality and worldly things; are we told, charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but the bride who fears God is worthy of praise.
A faithful marriage has the potential to produce a faithful family. A faithful family has the potential to produce a faithful community. A faithful community has the potential to be a Church community. Something beautiful and creative like a marriage multiplies beauty, creativity, and goodness, because that is within its nature. It can be difficult to hear Christ’s message in today’s Gospel that for everyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. While this might sound unjust according to our human reasoning, we are being instructed in this parable that goodness grows exponentially; if there is nothing to give or nothing to create, you have nothing to gain. Start small: obey the basic rules of the Church. Allow this small gift to flourish into a healthier life for yourself and potential relationships with others. Allow those relationships to be beautiful and creative, and to form community. This is how all goodness starts. If you are faithful with these small matters, you will be given greater responsibilities and share your master’s joy.