Continuing our look at Lumen Gentium
Wow, wow, wow! The pope just told a million youth at World Youth Day that he wants them to go home and make a mess of their dioceses! He wants to set them on fire and then send them home drifting on the winds like sparks to land where the wood and grass of faith is dry and set those places on fire. Luke 12:49, “"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!”
Gads, I hope they have the energy to keep burning when they hit barriers to this missioning. What I wouldn’t give to have the resources to hire a team of ministers (and send them for schooling) at the parish just so that we might implement all of the great ideas that come our way. I imagine more than a few of these firebrands coming home and finding overworked, over harried, (or lazy) pastors and their sparks growing dim – or worse yet – finding a mega-church that will say, “We’ll take your energy and ideas and help them grow.”
But it need not be so, even if you have such a pastor. Somewhere along the line we got the idea that in order to be Church, we have to do EVERYTHING through the parish. Granted, there are a lot of advantages not the least of which include a common space, perhaps a budget, and some legitimacy. But if we focus everything we do at the parish, then we become a Catholic ghetto and those places that most need exposure to the Word will never get it. The faith needs to seep into the fabric of our society if it is to have any effect at all.
Not too long ago I spilled tomato sauce in the refrigerator. Before I caught it, sauce had dripped down behind shelves and under drawers – it was a mess. I had to take the refrigerator apart to clean everywhere that needed cleaning. Places that come in regular contact get cleaned now and then, but these hidden spaces almost never. (It is an old bachelor house.) If it hadn’t been for the sauce reaching those hidden spots, they would have never been cleaned.
That is where to focus attention! Not only these youth, but all the People of God need to soak in to those areas that “hierarchical Church,” or “parish,” or “diocesan programs” don’t reach, which, quite frankly, is most of the world. According to paragraph 33, “The laity . . . are given the special vocation: to make the Church present and fruitful in those places and circumstances where it is only through them that she can become the salt of the earth. . . All the laity, then, have the exalted duty of working for the ever greater spread of the divine plan of salvation to all men, of every epoch and all over the earth.”