St. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians that “there are varieties of gifts, varieties of ministries, and varieties of efforts.” What he is saying is that unity does not mean sameness.
Such was certainly not the case with the early disciples of Jesus. There were differences, disagreements, and disputes among them. And one of the most beautiful things about the New Testament is its honesty. There is no attempt at cover up. When James and John were arguing over who should have first place in the kingdom of God, the Gospel reports it just as it happened. When Paul and Barnabas came to a parting of the ways over whether John and Mark should rejoin their mission team, the book of Acts tells it like it was.
The New Testament is such an honest and open report that the writers felt no embarrassment over differences within the church. Of course, not all of the differences were argumentative in nature. Some of them were just different patterns of thought and different styles of expression.
St. Paul simply reminded the Corinthians that they are not all alike. Each has a different gift, a different talent with which to serve in the cause of Jesus. He compared it to a human body. The body is a single unit, but it has many different members, fulfilling many different functions.
So it was in Corinthians and so it is with us at Annunciation-Our Lady of Fatima. There are all kinds of people with all kinds of talents and abilities and personalities. It is necessary for us to have a mutual cause, namely to serve Jesus. This is what tied the Apostles together in all of their differences. They were each deeply committed to Jesus and to His work. The purpose of any church – the purpose of our parish as well is to carry on the work of Jesus today.
You and I need to be certain that our primary commitment is to serve Jesus and not to serve ourselves. If we get that part right and keep it right, then we live and work in unity despite all of our differences and disagreements.
But we need to do all of this with mutual respect. Go back to the analogy of the human body. If the body is healthy and functioning properly, each member respects and works with all the others.
That lesson has been in the New Testament for a very long time, yet it seems sometimes that we have never heard it. It is a wonderful thing that we’re not all alike. I need you and you need me for the simple reason that we are different.
So will you put your gifts and talents at the service of Jesus by putting them at the service of your parish?
Please volunteer in any way you can. We need you and we would have you work alongside your fellow parishioners in building up the body of Jesus in our community. Will you help?