The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr Alan Meechan SVD (Sta Rosa de Lima Mission Area, Aurora, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro)
Monday 26th Week in Ordinary Time
Children, the most helpless and vulnerable members of society, are valued, particularly in Catholic countries where the family atmosphere seems strong.
Zechariah dreams of the resurrected Jerusalem: “The city shall be filled with boys and girls playing in the streets.” He sees a community with room and acceptance for all.
The importance of children’s position is also stressed in today’s Gospel. We see here the important role of community in the Church, the people of God, where no one is greater than another. In Healing as a Parish Ministry, Leo Thomas and Jan Alkire contrast the Jesus–and-me spirituality with the Jesus-and–us spirituality: “Jesus-and-me spirituality contrasts so sharply with incarnational spirituality . . . that it has led to serious conflicts within Christianity. We believe it forms a tragic wall that separates countless followers of Christ from one another.”
In his City of God, St Augustine saw the Church as being called to represent forgiveness and humanity in a flawed world. He thought of the City of God as a society that existed beyond the limits of this world, towards which one can aspire by striving to suppress wrongfulness, but which cannot yet be achieved in this life. The two cities, heavenly and earthly, are not identical, but we can already see the Church as a community perhaps faithful to the aspirations of Zechariah in our first reading.
Since the time of Pope John XXIII, the Church has been looked on more and more as God’s people in the world. Rather than building walls between each other, we live Christ and see him in each other as we work within our community for the salvation of us all.