The Church’ is Christians together, the community of the followers of Jesus. So James Joyce famously called it ‘Here comes everybody!’ Christians like us are limited, limited by our humanity, our faults, our weaknesses, and our sins. So much so that Vatican II teaches that the Church is always in need of reform, renewal, and interior conversion. (Decree on Ecumenism #6 & #7).

But that’s not the whole story. Through the grace (graciousness) of God, we have been made by Baptism members and cells of the body of Jesus Christ, extensions of himself in place and time. So much so that each baptised believer joined to him is actually ‘another Christ’. Each is called and sent by him, and each is empowered by his Spirit, to live and work for that better world that is ‘the Kingdom of God’, a society of justice and love, peace and joy.

Jesus Christ, in fact, depends on us to be who and what we are. In words attributed to St Teresa of Avila: ‘Christ has no body now on earth but yours!’ We are his eyes, ears, heart, hands and feet to everyone else. So we keep learning from his teachings and example just how to embody him. So we also look to great fellow-disciples like St Mary of the Cross, to show us the way. In short, we are together a sign and instrument of Jesus Christ, God’s grace in person.
What a fantastic gift (grace) it is, then, to be a Christian, ‘a wounded healer’ (Henri Nouwen), and a missionary of God’s love!

Brian Gleeson CP