Editor’s Pick: Church by Deacon AntonioAugust 27, 2012 No Comments
August 27, 2012 / MariaNews.com
By Deacon Antonio Sandoval
Before the coming of Jesus, the world was in a mess. Because of original sin and our subsequent personal and social sins, an infinite abyss divided heaven and earth. Our hearts were made for heaven, but with heaven out of reach, we resorted to search for happiness in the world and the flesh. This was like trying to fill a bucket with water, when the bucket has a hole in the bottom. The things of earth only provide evanescent satisfaction, that is, a happiness that quickly fades and leaves us bitter and empty.
Then God in his mercy decided to bridge the infinite abyss between heaven and earth for us, and destined, Christ, his Son to be that bridge. To be able to span the great abyss between heaven and earth, the Son would have to be firmly rooted on earth as well as in heaven. The Son would have to become man without ceasing to be God. He would have to be truly man and truly God. On earth the Infinite would have to become finite; the Omnipotent would have to become powerless. On earth the Eternal Omnipresent would become limited by time and space. The Son would have to authentically experience all human limitation except sin.
And this is indeed what happened; for Scripture says, “though he was in the form of God, [Jesus Christ] did not regard equality with God, something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness, and found in human appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on the cross.” (Phil. 2:6-8)
The mission of Jesus was enormous: to make salvation available to all people, not only those of his own time, but to people of every generation until the end of time. From a human point of view, this would seem to be impossible, considering that Jesus had imposed upon himself human limitations. Even his stay on earth would be limited to a mere 33 years.
But to God all things are possible. To fulfill his mission, even after his death on the Cross, Jesus formed a living Body composed of all his faithful followers united into the one Mystical Body of which he is the head. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit became the soul of the Mystical Body. Christ will continue to fulfill his mission through his Body, which is the Church, until the end of time. While individual members of this Mystical Body will depart into heavenly realms, where they will intercede for us, when their sojourn on earth is complete, others will take their place on earth. Therefore, the Church is Christ in the world fulfilling his mission for all time.
So Jesus ascended into heaven while at the same time remaining alive in his Mystical Body, the Church. Through the Church Jesus continues to proclaim the Good News to the poor in spirit. Through the Church Jesus continues to give birth to new members of his Body through the Sacrament of Baptism. Through the Church Jesus continues to set us free from the captivity and oppression of sin through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Through the Church Jesus continues to nourish us with the Living Bread which came down from heaven, the Eucharist. Through the Church Jesus will continue to embrace with love the least of our brothers and sister through the love which we, his members, have for one another. Jesus continues to make present his unique sacrifice on Calvary on the altars of the Church for our salvation. It is through Jesus that we can traverse the great abyss between heaven and earth.
While individual members of the Church may fail because of their infidelity to Christ, the Church itself will never fail because it is the Body of Christ of which Jesus said that the netherworld will not prevail against it.
As Saul of Tarsus was told by Jesus, persecuting the Church is persecuting Him (Acts 9: 4-5). By the same logic, to love and serve the Church is to love and serve Jesus. Thus we have an achievable way of loving Jesus, our Bridge over the great abyss to eternal glory.
Read more by Deacon Antonio here
Antonio is a retired deacon in the Archdiocese of Denver. Last September his wife, Maud, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. They were told that she didn’t have long to live. Since she is 83 years old, they decided to refuse the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Last October they were sent to Hospice. They have now been there for 8 months. Antonio’s wife is not experiencing the symptoms of multiple myeloma other than the fact that she cannot move and has to stay in bed all the time. She is also in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. You prayers will be appreciated. Antonio spends the entire day with his wife.
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