29th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 17th October

This Gospel reading is a clear example of our universal call to service and ministry within the Church. Certainly, there are hierarchical and sacramental functions and ministries, but these exist only against the backdrop of the broader baptismal call to ministry given to every one of us. And what a rich depth of meaning that simple truth gives to what we propose to do here this evening/morning.

We are, each one of us, a part of a gathering, an assembly of people. It is one of the first and most profound truths of the Church. It is literally what the word ‘Church’ means. If we do not understand and embrace the truth of our assembly, then we cannot understand and live out the truth of our ministry.

But we are here more than simply this person next to that person and so on. Here the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As we move into one another’s company we each become something more than we were. Simply the physical act of gathering here is itself already a creative act. By God’s will, not by our doing, this gathering is given a new meaning, a new level of being that changes each one of us.

Then the final reality, the real meaning of the assembly will be spoken again here by all of us. It is Christ’s words we will use. We will do it just as he did. We will bring into our midst a piece of bread, and we will say of it, ‘This is my body’. As we do, the bread will change, it will be the body of Christ. We will break bread and eat it. The Eucharist and the assembly will be joined as one. The assembly will become Eucharist, more indeed than what we were.

Let us, each of us, cast ourselves sin an active role indeed in the midst of this assembly. Each of us here can worship with words. From the prayers of the faithful, to the Our Father, to the simple Amen at communion, speak them loud, clearly. We can pray with our ears as we listen to the readings and hear not just the words, but the meaning, the power of scripture. We can pray with our eyes as we look around at the Godly beauty in the faces, the bodies, and the lives of people with whom we gather. How right and proper it is to remind ourselves how gentle we must be with one another.

To the revelation, ‘This is the body of Christ’, let our Amen mean, ‘Yes it is, and yes we are’.

Fr Andrew