2020-08-2321st Sunday in Ordinary TimeRev. Msgr. Michael J. Motta, D.Min.

When Jesus asked his disciples what people thought about him, they catalogued a variety of opinions. If I was to go around and ask people what they think about the Church, I am sure that I also would hear a variety of opinions. Some might say that the Church is of no importance. It is a relic of a bygone age that has nothing to say to us in our time. Some might say that the Church stands in the way of progress. On the other, hand, others would say we need the Church because it has all the answers. We need it because it tells us how to live our lives.

When Peter was asked by Jesus: "Who do you say that I am?" He answered: "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God". What would we answer if we were asked: "What is the Church" It is really not a tricky question. For you see we are the Church, you and I. The Church is not simply a set of buildings and it is not a hierarchy of officials. Down through the ages people have used metaphors to describe the Church but no one metaphor adequately gives the whole picture.

The Church is both changing and unchanging, growing and yet remaining the same. It is the work of God and yet it is work of men and women. It has divine characteristics and yet it is filled with human weaknesses. It is the clergy constantly searching for ways to best serve the people and yet making mistakes along the way. It is theologians, scholars and educators struggling to find new ways of explaining the faith and making it relevant to a modern generation. It is people trying to rediscover the meaning of their faith.

Most of all, the Church is people like us who make up the body of Christ on this earth. How many times have you heard that Jesus Christ is the head and we are the members? It is what we say and what we do, it is our example, it is our actions that will either lead others to Jesus Christ or will drive them away. We can either be signs of Jesus Christ in this community or contradictions of Him. How often have you heard a person say: I do not go to Church because it is filled with hypocrites. Is that the image that we project? I hope not. Are you going to let them get away with saying that or are you going to prove them wrong? Maybe they will say look how these people pray together, look how they stay together, look how they love one another?

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