Building my community – Where is Peter

A Reflection on the Readings for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Church services in 2025[i]

Pastor: The Lord be with you!

Congregation: And with your mind.

Pastor: Will everyone want to fire up their tablet or iPad, laptop, smartphone or Kindle Bible to read today’s Gospel, Luke 10:1-12, 17-20? Please turn on your Bluetooth audio device to download and listen to the sermon.

Pause.

Pastor: Now let us pray, placing this week in the hands of God. Open your favorite messaging app, Twitter or Facebook, and chat with God. Offer your requests to God.

The silence.

Pastor: As we take our Sunday tithes and offerings, please have your credit and debit cards ready. You can connect to the church’s Wi-Fi using the password “Lord2025AD”.

For those in the church, ushers will circulate moving card machines among congregants:

Those who prefer to make electronic fund transfers are directed to computers and laptops at the back of the church.

Those who prefer to use iPads can open them.

Those who prefer telephone banking, get out your cell phones to transfer your contributions to the church account.

The sacred atmosphere of our church becomes truly electrified as ALL smartphones, iPads and laptops beep and flicker!

Pastor: For those of you in your homes, please follow a similar procedure. Please stand for the final blessing and closing announcements:

This week’s stewardship meetings will be held on the various Facebook group pages where regular group discussions take place. Please log in and don’t miss a thing.

PSR classes on Monday and Tuesday will take place live on Zoom at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. respectively. Please don’t miss it.

You can follow your pastor on Twitter this weekend to register complaints or ask for guidance and prayers.

Those who are sick in the hospital will be anointed on Facetime.

God bless you.

And Jesus wept…

Yes, I’m sure Jesus would cry seeing the condition of our communities. What I share with you now is not in the distant future. This is a reality in today’s world, even more so after the pandemic. This is the reality of solitary lives without communities.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus sends 72 disciples on a mission. He sends them forth where He Himself intended to go. What is the primary duty of the 72 disciples and what is the meaning of the number 72?

According to the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 19:15), two witnesses were necessary for a testimony to be credible. Therefore, disciples are sent out in pairs. According to Jewish tradition in biblical times, there were 72 nations in the world. The number 72 signifies the mission towards these nations. Their primary mission in these places is to build community. Since they go in pairs, they had to build 36 communities. The initiative to build communities did not come from the disciples but from Jesus himself.

What will the 72 do? They will pray that there will be more people working to build new communities. They will not be wolves among the people, but lambs in the community. They will build community to live in simplicity, teaching people to depend on God’s providence for their safety, security, and future. They will offer the community the gift of God’s peace that surpasses all understanding – a peace that enables the community to live in fullness and fullness. They won’t be wolves looking for extra comfort and better food than members of the community. They will not rob the community to fill their bags with money. They will bring God’s healing which restores people’s body and spirit. It is in this community that the Kingdom of God becomes a reality.

The mission of these 72 is not only to proclaim the message of Jesus. Their essential mission is to build the community as a whole. This is what disciples do. After their successful community-building mission, they return rejoicing.

This is what the apostles did after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Starting in Jerusalem, then Rome, Greece, Turkey, Syria, India and other parts of the world, they built 40 different communities that celebrated their identity as people of “The Way”. In these communities, the followers of the “Way” celebrated their life as pilgrims around the Eucharist and the Word of God. Of course, each community had its own set of problems. They needed to be corrected, warned and encouraged. Neither community was perfect, yet they celebrated their lives together.

We see ourselves today in our Church and in our parishes as a community. I think it’s important to ask ourselves, “What is the common goal of our community? Then come other questions: “When was the last time we came together as a community for a common activity where young people, old people, employees, unemployed and retired people all interacted with each other? others ? When was the last time we contacted someone who had stopped coming to church and invited them to come back to the parish, even sharing a newsletter with them?

Lately, I feel like our parishes are functioning as customer service centers. We come for a service. We pay for the service and if we are not satisfied with the service, we go to another service center.

More and more non-denominational churches offer services on the Internet. In some places, online attendance exceeds the number of people who walk into church on a Sunday morning. For example, in one of the first internet churches, Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, you can share prayers through a web forum even before you meet another person.

American Christians are slowly confining themselves to our living rooms, accessing our churches through our smartphones and televisions. We no longer need to leave our homes to interact with other members of the community. We can do it all from the comfort and seclusion of our own homes.

Many people, including some Catholics, assume that God is primarily present to us individually, as individuals, rather than in and through the community of believers. That’s not what the Bible says. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am in their midst”.

There can never be community when people are more and more comfortable sitting in their rooms and watching mass. It is not a private devotion. It’s a community party. The community demands that we force ourselves out of our homes.

The mission of the 72 disciples sent by Jesus and the mission of all of us is to build communities. The tangible community that is present to us is the parish community of which we are all part, to which everyone belongs. This is where the Kingdom of God can become a reality.


Remarks

[i] Adapted from “A Church Service in the Future”.


Image: Brooklyn Museum – He Sent Them Two By Two (He Sent Them Two By Two) by James Tissot.

Did you like this post? Take a second to support Where Peter Is on Patreon!


Prof. Fredrick Devaraj comes from India. He was a member of the Congregation of the Holy Redeemer, the Redemptorists of Bangalore Province. He is now a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri, serving at St. Alban Roe Catholic Church.


Build my community

Comments are closed.