Monday, May 20, 2013

Is the Church an Agent for Change?

By Rev. Olga Lucia Álvarez Benjumea, ARCWP (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Evangelizadoras de los apóstoles
May 15, 2013

To this question, I firmly believe the answer is yes!

Once, a mother said to her son, "Son, watch your step so you won't fall," and her son answered, "Mom, thanks for the warning, but the one going in front is you. Me, I'm following in your footsteps."

A great answer, a very responsible one. The Church Mother and Teacher goes ahead and we follow in her footsteps.

What is the Church? Who forms it? It's the global community integrated in the ONE. All of us who are baptized form it.

It's precisely at Pentecost that the Church was born, to make the Community do and fulfill the covenant to achieve his wish, through the Eucharist: "Do this in memory of me." (1 Cor 11:25)

Being Church and being an agent of change is possible if we have understood the incalculable value of the Eucharist. If there's no Eucharist, there's no Church, there's no change.

It's from there that the elements emerge for social and religious change. This must be emphasized, giving witness, living the Eucharist, in the dimension of the Gospel, making the change visible and palpable after every Eucharist.

The Eucharist isn't an esoteric rite with magical essence. It's discovering the incalculable worth of the Divine Essence made human, and the surrender, and our commitment, as sons and daughters, to serving the neediest.

The Church People of God is the meeting place where we who have been baptized carry out the most important covenant, in front of our community, as witnesses, that gives substance to our lives.

If we would fulfill the pact made at every Eucharist, we would have PEACE, we would have JUSTICE. The kingdom of God would already have come true in our midst. There wouldn't be hunger in the land, there wouldn't be elderly who are neglected, or children who are rejected and abused. There wouldn't be those on top and those at the bottom, competition and revenge. There wouldn't be unemployed people, displaced persons, migrants, racism, or homeless families and children who don't have health care or education.

It's in the Church, from the Church, with the Church, that we can do our bit to tackle the problems of society.

Hence the need to purify the Church, heal it, cure it, so that careerists aren't hidden in it, climbers who have used the people and the family of God as a trampoline to further their own interests and personal ambitions, to echo the words of Francis, the Bishop of Rome, when he addressed the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) on May 7, 2013.

Being all baptized members of the Church People of God -- laypeople, men and women religious, deacons, priests, bishops, including the Pope -- we must take personal responsibility for our Church, making it able to eradicate every type of violence -- in the countryside, in the cities, marginalization, painful discrimination against our brothers and sisters, members of the family of God.

It's not just the job of those who minister and hold positions in the Church, but of all of us who are baptized, to involve ourselves in banishing insecurity, administrative corruption, impunity, lack of leadership, abuse of authority, poverty, and injustice in general.

Through our Baptism, we reaffirm our commitment to the Church; it's the only way that together we can make the Church a true agent of change -- not in words only, but in concrete deeds. Let's begin now!

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