Friday, May 12, 2006

It's not our's it's His

This Gospel reading for Sunday got me thinking.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
will be thrown out like a branch and wither;
people will gather them and throw them into a fire
and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified,
that you bear much fruit and become my disciples".

It reminded me of a recurring theme in Pope Benedict's previous writings. The theme or propriety of the Church. We are often told that we are the Church. Through Jesus, we are the Church. We are not the Church of our own accord. As Pope Benedict wrote so many years ago, "the Church is not ours, it is His."
We must remember that through the sacraments, we become one with the Body of Christ. We are the branches which cannot survive without the vine; the limbs which cannot survive without the body.
The Church has been entrusted into human care, not human ownership. Neither the laity, cardinals, bishops or even the Pope can claim ownership of the Church. The ownership always remains with God. Apostolic succession began with the election of Matthias and remains unbroken to this day. Apostolic succession ensures the unbroken transmission of the faith through the hierarchy of the Church.

How arrogant we can become with ecclesiastical matters. It is so easy to forget that it is not our will to be done, but God's will. During the Our Father, we rush through those words so often. "...Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven". God's will is done in Heaven and we must remember that as members of His Church, we are to do His will on Earth, especially in His Church.

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