The gist of my homily last weekend was: “This ain’t heaven.” Which is why, according to Michner, God gave us mosquitoes. No matter how great life here may be, those little buggers remind us that there’s got to be something better.
In the mean time, that does not stop us from doing our best to make this life a blessing. We live in a state that some refer to as, “Already/Not Yet.” Jesus Christ has come and in reality, death and sin have already been defeated – the end is clear – the battle is won. It is like the mathematical certainty of the population of the United States and Europe is headed for a sharp decline due to smaller families, contraception, and abortion. At this point there is nothing to be done except try to minimize the damage. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. We can either participate in it or, for some strange reason, choose to join those who have already lost.
That being said, His Kingdom is not yet fully established here on earth. It won’t be until He comes again. We are living in the aftermath of war waiting for our cities to be rebuilt. The government is not yet fully established, order does not yet reign supreme. (This may be overstating the case a bit, but I think it helps one imagine the state we are in. We are rejoicing, but not yet fully.)
So in this next uber long paragraph of Lumen Gentium (35), the laity, in particular, are given their marching orders toward the building up of the Kingdom. To aid us until the King comes to fully establish his rule, he sent us not only a hierarchy but the laity. Interestingly the document says that he gave us “not only the hierarchy” but also the laity to fulfill the prophetic office to the world. Once again the documents call the Church’s people to their proper roles. There are no passive members of the Catholic Church and in this role, hierarchy and laity alike are held to the same level of responsibility.
Once again, whatever you are doing today, wherever you go, whomever you meet all can be used to advance the Kingdom of God, bringing people over to the side of life, freedom, and dignity. In fact, the laity can do this more effectively because their efforts are, “accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world.”
Of high importance is married and family life. (Today more than ever!) More often than not at the end of a wedding homily I remind a couple that their marriage is not just for them. It is for me, the servers, the people attending the ceremony, their future children, and all those with whom they will come in contact throughout their married life. They are going to live the inner life of the Trinity – love between two persons that is fruitful and becomes a third person, a community of love that spills over and nourishes the community now and in the future. “Hence by their example and testimony, they convict the world of sin and give light to those who seek truth.”
WOW! Think of that today as you are taking the trash out, mowing the lawn, driving to work, loving your family, or going over to the neighbors for beers and brats. THIS IS YOUR CALLING and the purpose of marriage.
FURTHERMORE, the Church foresees times when there will not be clergy present. For example, in times of persecution the laity are called to supply sacred functions to the best of their abilities. (Now that doesn’t mean trying to consecrate bread or forgiving sins, but the door, in emergencies, is open wider than most people think.)
“Let the laity, therefore, diligently apply themselves to a more profound knowledge of revealed truth and earnestly beg of God the gift of wisdom.”
Again I say, “Wow.”