February 24, 2023

Hispanic Ministry / Felix Navarrete

The Church, though many, makes up one body of Christ

(En Espanol)

Sean GallagherAs we go through an era of divisiveness and irrationalism, we find ourselves in a world that increasingly cries to find a point of balance, a true understanding of cultures, races and languages. This need is indisputably authentic and must be categorized as urgent in society and, especially, within our Church.

As Catholic Christians, we are called to understanding, service, solidarity and a search for the common good.

The Apostle Paul continues to be a prophet for our times. In his letter to the Corinthians, he reminds us that whoever fails to love has nothing of worth. Even when our actions are good, if we do not act out of love, those actions are useless.

This form of evangelization might sound a bit unorthodox to some, but when we leave behind our pride and objectively reflect on these words, we realize that it is actually Christ through Paul who calls us to a deep conversion through love.

Understanding is only reached through love. It is as if a veil comes off or a bandage is removed to let us know and interpret the needs of others.

Our faith reminds us it is not enough to have good intentions; in reality, what matters is to love. When one loves, a sublime feeling exists and good acts, including acts of mercy, are released. It is at that point that we reach a true understanding of our call to discipleship.

Where there is love, there is no room for division. Where there is love, the wicked are not applauded. Where there is love, there is no pride.

If we claim to be the Church of Christ, why do we allow divisions to exist within our communities? Have we not been called to love? Our duty as members of the Church is, above all, to accept the will of God—even when the will of God today translates into a series of challenges that make us leave our comfort zone.

Our communities today are increasingly diverse. They no longer minister to a specific ethnicity, nor do they all speak the same language, nor are all professionals who have knowledge of the blessings of our intercultural family of faith.

Our Church has undergone a transformation, where migration is a determining factor in the evangelization process; where the influence of cultures has generated and will continue to generate changes in the representation of our parish ministries and Catholic schools; where we need to update the mission of each of our parishes and adapt the Gospel message we live.

In this movement of the Holy Spirit in each of our communities, we can experience a diversity of works, but we must realize it is the same God who works in us all.

St. Paul, in his First Letter to the Corinthians, tells us, “The manifestation of the Spirit that each one is given is for the common benefit” (1 Cor 12:7). In other words, all the gifts and charisms that come from the Holy Spirit and are manifested in each of the members are a gift to the community and promote the common good.

The rationality of our senses must be in perfect harmony with the Gospel message that calls us to be bearers of the good news, of a message of salvation that does not exclude people because of culture and the nuances of each race or language, but rather finds strength in a Church that by God’s will is diverse and whose diversity contributes to the extension of the kingdom toward the peripheries.

All of God’s people have a duty to incorporate their gifts at the service of the Church of Christ. It is imperative to seek the unity of his mystical body. “The parts of the body are many, but the body is one; no matter how many parts there are, they all form a single body. So also, is Christ; … a single member is not enough to form a body, but many are needed; … God has arranged the various members, placing each one in the body as he wanted; … even more, the parts of the body that seem to be weakest are the most necessary” (1 Cor 12:12, 14, 18, 22).

In the Church of Christ, we are all necessary. Our diversity of talents makes it a continuous school of learning where we all share a single mission, to be disciples of the Master. What are you waiting for to accept God’s will in your ministry?

(Felix Navarrete is archdiocesan coordinator of Hispanic Ministry.)

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