Scripture Reflections – Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Dt 4:32-34; 39-40; Rom 8:14-17; Mt 28:16-20

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

A few years back, I read an article about the future of the Church in which a bishop asked a thought-provoking question:  “Are we the Church of those who regularly receive the sacraments or are we the Church of the baptised?”    How you answer that question has an enormous impact on the Church that you see.

Here’s what Jesus says this week:  “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”  This, to me, seems like an enormous mission field.   Jesus’ words suggest to me that His default option is to be as inclusive as humanly (assisted by divine grace) possible.  To make our vision of Church as wide as we possibly can.

Statistics report that the largest single identifiable religious denomination in the United States is Roman Catholics.   The second largest identifiable “denomination” is unchurched Roman Catholics.

Does the problem lie primarily with the unchurched for leaving or with the churched for not offering their baptized sisters and brothers enough reason to stay?   Is it even a problem at all – perhaps what the statistics suggest is that there is a new model of Church emerging that will make this seemingly uncompromising dividing line irrelevant?

Sorry that I have no answers to offer.  These days, mostly what I have are questions, and most of my prayer consists of  learning how to live within these questions so that God might speak to me there.

One thing seems clear, however.  St. Paul fills in the details as to what we are supposed to teach to those who become disciples and join the Church: “The Spirit … bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)

(To purchase book-length collections of my writings on the Bible and on the Church, go to www.twentythirdpublications.com.    Books can also be purchased through amazon.com as well as  a wide variety of other sites.)

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