Isaiah 62: 1-5
1 Corinthians 12: 4-11
John 2: 1-11
Could it possibly get any clearer? St. Paul the Apostle, in his first letter to the Corinthians, tells us that the fullness of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, all the various forms of service for the Lord, and the remarkable "workings" of God all lie in the whole community, not in only a part of it. It seems St. Paul was convinced that it took the whole Christian community to hold the many rich gifts and the wondrous works that the Holy Spirit showered upon the Church. While it’s true that he did believe that there was a hierarchy of gifts and service, he nonetheless recognized that all of them were from the Spirit and all of them were needed by the community as they lived their life of faith. He exhorted them over and over again to honor and value the variety of gifts that exist in every member of the Body of Christ.
I catch myself sometimes narrowing my understanding of the Church. I tend to value some parts of the Church more than other parts. For example, right now we all see headlines in the Catholic press about the conflict between the Vatican and the Women Religious in the U.S. And, we, of course, are encouraged to see one group as "good" and the other group as "evil." Other times we hear of conflict between the Bishops and some Catholic theologians. For many, there is a chasm between the "conservatives" and the "liberals," or the "clergy" and the "laity," or the "institutional" and the "charismatic," etc., etc. There seems to be no end to the differences that are possible to highlight. And in almost every case, most of us are inclined to value those gifts and forms of service that are congenial to us and to dismiss the others.
The liturgical readings today remind us how blessed we are, "for the Lord delights in (us)…as the bridegroom delights in his bride." And, of course, it is in all of us that the Lord delights! Today we are invited to celebrate the wonder of who we are as Church and to open our eyes and hearts to every member, each of whom carries an authentic gift from God, meant to enrich us all.
Fr. Michael Higgins, C.P. is the director of the Development Office for Holy Cross Province and is stationed at Immaculate Conception Community in Chicago.