Rom 16:3-9, 16, 22-27
When I was young it seemed that all the work done in the Church was performed by our parish priests and the sisters in our school. Perhaps that was a child’s error in perception. But no one can deny that something broke forth following Vatican II that created a new life within the church. That new life was the renewal of the rightful role of the laity in the life of our church.
I think this was a return to the original status of the laity, and a gift from the Holy Spirit to enable the church to flourish.
In today’s first reading we hear the concluding verses of St. Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome. The reading is not exactly inspiring because it seems to be a lengthy list of names of early Christians. But this is Paul’s list of gratitude to those who not only received the word of the Gospel but also became enthusiastic workers and evangelizers of the good news. Without them Paul’s work would not have yielded as much fruit and the Church would have been much reduced in size. The first two names mentioned were a wife and husband team who took great risk to save Paul. They were also great teachers who helped to prepare Apollos, one of the greatest church evangelizers of that time. Their private home welcomed the early Christians and became a place where the Eucharist was celebrated. As a sign of their significance their names are mentioned five times in the New Testament and each time the wife, Prisca, is always mentioned first. Most of the apostles” names do not appear that often.
Today’s church in America is witnessing a significant reduction in the number of active priests while the number of Catholics is growing. Our Church will flourish in direct proportion to the zeal and energy of our laity. The Holy Spirit is ready to empower all who come forth with the willingness to say “Yes” to Christ.
Fr. Patrick Geinzer, C.P.
St. Paul of the Cross Monastery
- Saint Paul of the Cross (andreshearth.wordpress.com)
- Through his Hands and his Heart he Offered Christ to our World (thepassionists.org)
- Seeing and Being Seen (thepassionists.org)