Years ago, I heard the term ‘consumers’ referring to Catholics: we come to Mass, take, and then leave; I go to a parish I like (that is, it’s the best I can find for me), pray, and then go. The culture of the Church in Canada allows us to stay consumers who don’t prioritize following Jesus, which includes giving of ourselves and serving our spiritual family.
I’m not bringing this up to make you feel guilty. After all, no one’s brought it to your attention. Yet my hope is that, within a few years, no one will be a consumer, but an apostle, a servant, or, if you’re new here, someone exploring.
St. Paul writes today, “The body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot would say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ that would not make it any less a part of the body” (1 Cor 12:14-15). The Church is the body of Christ, and we are really united. It’s not just a metaphor like being part of a group. It’s real. We share grace through being united to Jesus, and we can help or hurt each other.
Each one of us has a unique function in the body and all are necessary—that’s the first point. St. Benedict’s Parish in Halifax, that coaches us in the Divine Renovation Network, has 1,000 people serving out of 1,500 people who come on Sundays—that’s a healthy spiritual community.
The second point is that some gifts are hidden. “The members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor” (1 Cor 12:22-23). So, it’s you who deliver bread to the poor, who help families with groceries, who drive people to Mass who are essential.
Please listen to this two-minute phone message I received last September. I’ve never received a message like this. And the man has given me permission to share.