The Apostle Paul reminds us this morning that the Church prioritizes over (and even against) any of our own causes, opinions, agendas, ideologies, ethnic distinctions, the fundamental unity of the Church that is accomplished by our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, our Baptism into Christ which incorporates us into the Church, and the sovereignty of God over not only the Church, but all of creation.
In other words, Christ is God, the Church belongs to Christ, and through the Church, and we belong to Christ. When we mitigate this way of understanding Christ, the Church or ourselves we inevitably introduce divisions into the Church, which then inevitably cause the Church to falter in her mission.
When the Church is failing in her mission, this failure is usually not because of something external to the Church, but because of divisiveness that exists from within. A divisive Church is a self-referential Church, one that has displaced the Lordship of Christ with mere worldly interests. A divisive Church does not attract and generates little, if any, life. It cannot inspire the radical commitment to the Gospel that is revealed in vocations to priesthood, religious life and matrimony and levels out the heroic, missionary zeal of discipleship through a bureaucratic institutionalism, replacing witness to the Gospel with mere commentary about the Church and how we can change policies to better meet our needs.
There is no life giving potential in the divisive Church because there is no longer one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God- instead there is only our ego, our ideologies, our causes, and the many gods of worldliness.
The best that a divisive Church can accomplish is maintaining faith-themed infrastructure- comfortably decorated, state of the art facilities, but these will only be skeletons without flesh, empty buildings without a living divine or human presence.
Which Church do we want? We are all faced with this decision.
Christ calls us to task, he judges us, for being distracted and pre-occupied. Where is our sense of urgency in terms of the demands of the Gospel?
Look how much attention and anxiety we can muster in regards to the weather, but what of the Gospel and the mission that Christ gives us?
Imagine the urgency and seriousness with which we would approach a court case or how we readily conform our lives to the demands of merely human laws and judgment. But does the reality of God’s judgment matter? Do we consider that even now God measures our love against his standard of justice, mercy and forgiveness? What of the law of Christ in his Gospel? In regards to Christ’s law are we willing to conform to a new way of life, or in this regard to we seek the exemption? Do we consider the Gospel merely as affirming us as we are or for what it really and truly is- an invitation to repent and live a different way of life?
The demand of the Gospel cannot be deferred. The demand of the Gospel presses upon us with great urgency in the present moment.
The day of the judgment of the Lord is not a matter of the future, but of today!