Change In Community

Imagine a parish where you walk in and are greeted at the door by a smiling face who welcomes you and directs you to a seat that is reserved just for you. Imagine that those around you aren’t interested in your political ideals or viewpoints on hot topic issues, but they are just grateful to meet you and welcome you into God’s house. Keep imagining, if you will, a place where everyone can freely worship God the way that fits their spirituality, without being mocked or scorned, but they can just be with Jesus in the way they most prefer. Imagine a place where the full truth is preached with conviction, despite what the consequences may be. Imagine someone who is willing to walk through the mess of your life and not judge you or condemn you, but also not leave you in the filth of your sin, but help guide you to the truth.

Sound like a place you have ever been? The reality is that what I just described should be what every Christian church looks like. The question is, do they? Let’s read through the First Reading today and really reflect on it in light of the questions I just asked.

“The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the Apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the Apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need. Thus Joseph, also named by the Apostles Barnabas (which is translated ‘son of encouragement’), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the Apostles.” -Acts 4:32-37

So what can we say about this reading? As I read through it what stood out was how this is what Jesus wants us to look like as Christian communities. This is what he wants your church to look like. So the simple question is, what can we do to make it more like this? Are we giving of our time, talent, and treasure to help those around us? Are we trying to sow unity while also standing firm with the truth. Are we like Jesus who gave the fullness of mercy to the woman caught in adultery and then promptly said to sin no more? Let’s make a commitment today to be the change. Preaching the Gospel through our actions with the people God has given us. From all of us here at Rodzinka Ministry, God bless!

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Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and the Director of Faith Formation for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith. Contact Tommy at tommy@rodzinkaministry.com or check out his website at rodzinkaministry.com.

Feature Image Credit: Cathopic, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/5323-luz-iglesia

Death to Life

“Every baptized person should consider that it is in the womb of the Church where he is transformed from a child of Adam to a child of God.”– St. Vincent Ferrer – 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells Nicodemus that “unless one is born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” and, after Nicodemus expresses his confusion, Jesus continues by saying that “unless one is born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”.  Jesus is talking about the importance of Baptism. In order to enter the Kingdom of God, we must first die to ourselves and be reborn in the Holy Spirit. This rebirth is not solely our Baptism that only happens once, but it should be a continual renewal of our Baptismal promises. We ought to be rejecting Satan, and all his works, and his empty promises every day of our lives. We should be confessing our faith in God and His mercy – in word and action – every day of our lives. This is what we celebrate during the Easter season. The Risen Lord is always in our midst and our lives should be a reflection of His presence. 

Being born in the Spirit, being baptized in the Christian faith demands a life radically lived. Our faith does not call us to complacency, it does not call us to mediocrity. Rather, it calls us to participate in the radical love the Father has for us. We are made to be part of a love so great that the Father sent His only Son to die for us so that we may be united eternally with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom. It is for that reason that we are to continue to rejoice in the Easter miracle that is the Resurrection of our Savior, Christ Jesus. It is only through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection that we are able to be born again into His love. 

As we continue through this Easter season, may we commit ourselves to continual renewal in the Holy Spirit. May we be willing to die to ourselves in order to be reborn in the Father’s love for us.

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Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.

Feature Image Credit: Luis Ca, https://www.cathopic.com/photo/7607-bautismo-senor