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A Global Church

    In the early beginnings of the church the early Christian communities, defined by those whom Jesus, Peter and Paul had preached to, were faced with the challenge of allowing gentiles, that is non-Jews, into the faith. We begin to hear this challenge tackled in the Acts of the Apostles chapter 15 at the Council of Jerusalem and then more throughout St Pauls letters. The  writer of Gospel of Matthew also tackles this challenge throughout his gospel.  Writing to a Jewish-Christian community, Matthew incorporates elements of what is being experienced present into and highlights those moments from the life Jesus. Matthew would be experiencing the challenge of inclusion of non-jews into the primary Jewish faith of Christianity and the destruction of the temple by the Romans,while he was writing his Gospel. So these common themes or foreshadows will appear more so in his Gospel.

   We see time and time again, that Jesus was not limited to the Jews, nor were the apostles at Pentecost. Jesus heals the daughter of a Canaanite woman and he speaks with a Samaritan, reveals himself in Samaria,and  healed the servant of a roman centurion.  He was born, yes, as a Jew and lived as a Jewish man. He was also the Messiah whom the Jews had hoped for but even Jesus said that "I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd."  The Jews he came to save, but through the Jewish ministry and the apostles he called, he came to save gentiles as well. Together, Jews and Gentiles we become one flock, through the one Shepherd, Jesus.

    The church is thus open to the entire world. No longer for one sect or one society, but the entire world. It is then through Jesus, whom the entire world must go to, to be saved and healed. He is the person that has died and redeemed his people.  The church, following in his example, is a church of the entire world, existing to help everyone at any cost. The Catholic church is a global church, a universal one. It exists for us to follow Jesus even more closely and personally, and to be able to come to him in a unique and holy manner. The church exists now as the ladder between this life and the next. Its mission is the same mission as Jesus Christs, to bring people back to God. It can and does fulfill this mission through the entrusting of the keys to Peter, the rock.

    Just as in the case of the apostles, we too face the challenge of a globalized church. Our parishes must be open and willing to go out to preach the kingdom. For a parish that is stuck within itself or only working for those already inside it, is a church or parish that will die. Our thinking must be outside of our walls. The church exists to bring people to Christ, the messiah. Yet we can lose focus of that fundamental mission and we can look so inward and become deeply "church-focused" that we lose sight of the outside world. A parish should and must be "outwards focused" always looking for ways to lead people to an encounter with Christ.

    A parish is shaped by its community- it is the people that make the parish a parish. So if the people are focused on the outside, and drawing strength from the inside, then the church becomes a lively mosaic of people following Christs command to make disciples of all nations.  It simply begins with the transformation of how we see, think and help those who live on the street, the attitude we show to those with different opinions than our own, the charity we show to every single person regardless of sins, race, or culture.

    How do you fit into the globalized church?

    Are you inwardly focused on the parish, or are you outwardly focused on bringing others in?

    Are you refreshed from inside and use it outside?

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