"The Church, the Source of Sanctity"


Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time,

26 July 2020


“Now we know that for those who love God all things work together unto good.”

Rom. 8:28

Today’s Gospel, Matthew13:44-52, contains a number of parables concerning the Kingdom of God: the hidden treasure which shows how the Church is a great treasure, the pearl of great price which should be desired above all other pearls, and t and the net which contains all kinds of fish. The fisherman keeps the good fish and discards the bad fish. This net thrown into the sea is an image of the Church which has both the just and sinners in it. Jesus spoke of His Church in other places with the same idea; there are saints as well as sinners within the Church. All belong to the Church in different ways. Vatican II tells us: “Christ ‘holy, innocent and undefiled’ (Heb. 7:26) knew nothing of sin (2Cor. 5:21), but came to only to expiate the sins of the people (cf. Heb. 2:17). The Church, however, clasping sinner to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.” (“Lumen Gentium, 8). Sinners and Saints are within the Church No matter what sins they commit, the sinners continue to belong to the Church since, by their baptism, they are still children of God and heirs of heaven. These blessings are the indelible characters received in Baptism and Confirmation with sanctifying grace, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the infused virtues of faith and hope and charity and infused moral virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude and the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit.. Even though some of her children are not in the state of grace because of mortal sin, the Church continues to bring them back into the fold. The Church is a Mother who continually prays for her children who are spiritually sick with sin. This is why we, who are members of the Church, should bring to the Lord our prayers, our good works and our sacrifices for those members of the Church who are not participating fully in the life of sanctifying grace because of mortal in.

The Holiness of the Church

Although the Church is made up of sinners, she herself is free of sin because of her divine origin: “Christ joined her to Himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God… this holiness of the Church is constantly shown forth in the fruits of grace which the Spirit produces in the faithful and so it must be: it is expressed in many ways by the individuals who, each in his own state of life, tent to the perfection of love, thus sanctifying others.” (Lumen Gentium #30) Sinners belong to the Church, despite their sins. Having been baptized, they carry within themselves the hope of reconciliation which not even the most serious of sins can erase. Jesus Christ has watched over the Church from its foundation, “in order that he might present to himself the Church in all her glory, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she might be holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:27

The Church, the Source of Sanctity

The Church continually offers to men the means of drawing close to God. Ven. Pope Pius XII in the Encyclical, Mystici Corporis, 29 June 1943, #30 said: “Certainly our Holy Mother shines out spotless in her sacraments by means of which she brings forth her children and nourishes them; in her faith, which has never suffered contamination; in her most holy laws, by which she commands all men; and her evangelical counsels which she proposes to all men; finally, in her heavenly gifts and charisms, by means of which, with inexhaustible fecundity, she brings forth armies of martyrs and virgins and confessors.” The Church is holy because “all in the church, whether they belong to the hierarchy or they are cared for by it, are called to holiness.” (Lumen gentium, #39) By virtue of the holiness of her Founder, the Church, the Bride of Christ, is forever young and beautiful, “without spot wrinkle…or blemish.” The Church is holy due the constant action of the Holy Spirit and not because of the behavior of her human members. St. Jose Maria Escriva tells us: “I would also like you to consider that even if human failings were to outnumber acts of valor, the clear undeniable mystical reality of the Church, thought unperceived by the senses, would still remain. The Church would still be the Body of Christ, Our Lord himself, the action of the Holy Spirit and the loving presence of the Father.” (“In Love with the Church,” 7)

New Evangelization

If we love God and His Church, then we will want to serve God by helping our neighbor. This is God’s will for us. This is why He plans all of our lives and sends us all the events that happen to us for our perfection and holiness. Today’s Second Reading tells us this: “Now we know that for those who love God all things work together unto good.” Rom.8:28 This also why God will give us all the help we need to fulfill His will as Solomon proves in the First Reading (I Kings 3:5, 7-12) when he asked God for understanding to judge good and evil: “Give therefore to thy servant an understanding heart, to judge thy people, and discern between good and evil. For who shall be able to judge this people, thy people which is so numerous.” I Kings 3:9 Today, more than ever, with so many turning away from the truth and the Catholic faith, we need to be saints. This is why Pope St. John Paul II called for a “new evangelization” by the new saints of these times: “For this sublime mission aimed at the flowering of a new age of evangelization in Europe, evangelizers with a special preparation are required today. There is a need for heralds of the Gospel who are experts in humanity, who have a profound knowledge of the heart of present-day man, participating in his joys and hopes, anguish and sadness, and who are at the same time contemplatives in love with God. For this we need new saints. ‘The great evangelizers of Europe have been saints.’ We must supplicate the Lord to increase the Church’s spirit of holiness and send us new saints to evangelize today’s world.” (Address to the Symposium of Council of European Episcopal Conferences, 11 October 1985)

9 views

Maryhouse, 32 High Street, Gosport PO12 1DF

Tel: 02392580119 

Email: gosport@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk

The Roman Catholic Parish of Saint Mary's & Saint Columba's is part of the Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust Registered Charity 246871

Copyright©2020 by Roman Catholic Parish of Saint Mary's & Saint Columba's

  • White Facebook Icon
  • YouTube
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Instagram Icon