Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Called to Carry on the Family Business

By Deacon John De Gano
St. Catherine of Alexandria, Riverside

What does it mean to minister in the church? It means to embrace your baptismal call and serve others in the spirit and love of Christ.

Each of us by our baptism has been re-born/adopted into God’s family and is expected to participate in the ‘family business’ (see Matthew 28:19-20 for details).

We are called to be priest, prophet, and king or queen (or, perhaps a better analogy would be a servant leader, like Jesus modeled for his disciples).
  • We fill our priesthood role through our participation at liturgies. Full, conscious and active participation, as the liturgical documents stress!
  • Not only do we come together as a community in the liturgy, we are also called to devour the word of God as proclaimed and ‘broke open’ in the homily, we are to live it, sharing God’s love in word, deed and action. Although we don’t always have to speak the word, our lives are to be evangelizing so that people might see how we live our lives and be spurred to ask us ‘the reason for our hope’.
  • And finally, we are called to be servant leaders, ministering to the hopes and needs of one another – challenging each other to be the best ‘us’ we can be for God.
For many, the concept of ministry can be frightening.

“What do I have to offer?” we ask. “I am not an expert on the Bible, church doctrine or even the six (or is it seven?) Sacraments. And just how much time are we talking about?”

“Fear not!” Jesus told his followers over and over. And we would be wise to heed Jesus’ words and promises. Jesus promised to be with us in all our trials. He promised to provide the words we might be called upon to speak and to comfort us in our adversity.

We, like Peter, need only step out of the boat… and Jesus will do the rest. When we do this, we will soon discover that walking on water is nothing compared to the lives each of us can touch through our participation in a ministry of the Church.

Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit to ‘teach us all things.’ Isn’t it time to call in that promise? When we do we may even be surprised to learn that there are very few Catholics who ever receive all seven sacraments (I am one of them. Are you?).

The next time you are sitting in church, pick up a bulletin and look at the page of ministries in your parish. Ask yourself, “What are these ministries about? What do they do? Who might be a part of them? What special gifts would they need? Are they natural gifts or do they require some additional education or technical degree? Then ask yourself what you might have to offer that ministry. A compassionate heart? An ability to fix things with your hands? A hospitable spirit? A friendly smile? A willingness to give an hour or two, perhaps once a month, addressing envelopes or stuffing bulletins?

The amount of ministry isn’t as important as the quality of ministry that you do. If you offer your time, talent and/or treasure to the Lord you will be blessed for your generosity. If you want to make a difference in someone else’s life, you will find your own life enriched, as well.

You just need to get started. Go to the sink, splash some water into your face and renew your baptism promises – Reject Satan, evil and selfish desires. Believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and what they did so that you might have eternal life.

This is a wake up call.

Your Heavenly Father has chores for you to do

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