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The Church as Home and School of Communion

The presence of Jesus in the Sacraments and the Church fosters the awareness of the communion that exists between Him and the Church and the communion among the members of the Church. Thus the Church is considered, home and school of communion.    

When I was growing up, our parish church was the Church for me. This meant attending Sunday mass with the entire family, or joining my mother in her daily mass (if I wake up early), or praying the Angelus at 6 pm upon hearing the clanging of the bells. In grade 2, studying in a Catholic school right beside the church, I received my first Holy Communion, all dressed in white with my classmates.

As I grew older, I realized that the Church was not just an institution. It is a home and school of communion. It is Jesus himself, gifting us with His presence and strengthening our relationship with Him in the sacraments, especially in Holy Communion.

“You are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18). “Whoever listens to you, listens to Me. Whoever rejects you, rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (Luke 10:16). With these words, Jesus established the Church not as a mere human structure but as the Vatican Council states “the people of God.” 

We cherish this experience of Church-communion in the Eucharist where we are all one with Christ and with one another. That is why Jesus prayed precisely, “that all may be one” (John 17:21). 

Chiara Lubich shared we have always liked the saying of Tertullian, “where three are gathered together, even if they are laypersons, there is the Church.” So even if we are few, we are the Church, the living Church, through the presence of Jesus among us. 

Pope Paul VI said, “Christians must be filled with a passionate love for the Church, a love that should not only be felt but practiced and extended to the entire Church.” These include all institutions, fruit of so many charisms that the Holy Spirit has given and continues to give to the Church. 

The Church has also been likened to a living mosaic. Mosaics are made up of many tiles or stones. In the Church, each one of us is a living tile. We understand where we fit in and our role in relation to everyone else as well as to the whole. Carrying out our specific duty, faithful to our mission, we give of ourselves and find true communion with others. The reciprocal love of giving and receiving increases the unity in the splendid mosaic that is the Church. 

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