Reflection for Sunday August 24, 2014
by Dave O’Donnell
The focus of my attention is on the idea of church, which I see as best translated as community of the faithful as opposed to religion, which I see as a body of believers within a framework of dogma and doctrine.
The Roman Catholic religion claims a heritage directly coming from the apostles. The apostles and their successors stated, argued and established a structure of beliefs around doctrine and dogma that they believed taught the way of Jesus. Now, after two thousand years we have many christian denominations identifying themselves as in The Christian Church but separated from others by competing doctrine, dogma and practice.
The Jewish church that Jesus knew and taught in has been described as a church of deed not of creed. It was all about and still is today I think about what you do, not about what you believe. When Jesus says if you love me you will follow my commandments, He is not talking about the commandments given to Moses . He is talking about the commandments He personally gave us, summed up in the two most important: Love God, and Love your neighbor as yourself, and clarified in commandments like forgive always, do not judge and pray for your enemy . All of Jesus’ commandments are about relationship. When followed, even imperfectly, they are about building community and bringing people together as one. The church that Jesus referred to is and includes all of the Christian Communities and as they learn to put Jesus’ teachings into action someday hopefully about all people coming together.
We are a community of laymen and laywomen who, with vowed Passionists, seek to share in the charism of St. Paul of the Cross through prayer, ongoing spiritual formation, and proclamation of the message of Christ Crucified.