“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mk. 16:15). When I used to read that verse, I would tend to think it was directed to only the early church, only for the clergy, or only for those holier than I. But St. Paul taught me otherwise.
St. Augustine wrote: “Faith is to believe what you do not see. The reward of faith is to see what you believe.” Faith is to look with spiritual vision beyond the physical and the ordinary. Through belief, it opens the way to an encounter with God and the reward of a new kind of life.
In our second reading for today, St. Paul speaks about how the Church is founded by Christ himself. Through apostolic succession, men who have received the sacrament of Orders continue to build on the foundation of the Church as it grows to full stature as the New Temple, which is Christ’s body and God’s building.
As a teen and young man, I remember being hesitant—even fearful—of mentioning to my friends that I was a Catholic. I knew they held a lot of misunderstanding about the Church and what the Church believes about Mary.
Instituted by Christ and founded on the apostles, the Church on earth is the kingdom of heaven in its seed and beginning. The Church is God the Father’s intended home for all people, deigned to be so from before time began. She is inclusive, barring no person from communion with her and her founder, Jesus Christ. It is only the individual who voluntarily excludes himself by rejecting communion with the Church through free-choices that are incompatible with the love of Christ and the rule of his kingdom.