Biblical texts concerning the role of the Apostles and Peter in the Church make it clear that Jesus wanted a structured and juridical Church under the guidance of Supreme Shepherd Peter; He did not want, as many people do, a mere spiritual community gathered by faith and love. Catechist affirms that the Church is “both visible and spiritual” (CCC 770) and also that
“The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved” (CCC 765).
Jesus was aware that His Church would last long on Earth until the complete fulfillment of Her Mission: gathering the whole of mankind in God. Parables about the Church show that. The Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat (Matthew 13, 24-30) shows that believers and sinners will live together in the Church until the end of times. The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Matthew 13, 31-32) also points at the long journey and the long time taken to build the Church on earth in a permanent enduring way.
“It is the smallest of all seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches’” (Matthew 13, 32).
The Kingdom of God [the Church] is also compared to a net that is thrown into the sea, “which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away” (Matthew 13, 47-49). This passage also shows that the Church shall endure until the end of times, because Jesus estates that only then the separation will be made:
“Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, and there will be wailing and grinding of teeth”.
Also in the Parable of the Feast (Matthew 9,15) and the Parable of the Yeast (Matthew 13, 33) show that the Church has a long mission that demands patience to be accomplished until the total fulfillment of times.
The Church, therefore, is not a mere “Society of Friends of Jesus and the Gospel”: She is much more than that, She is an Institution created by Jesus Himself, integrated to Him, His own Body, so that She is Jesus’ continuation in the history of mankind. She gathers human beings together in Him, to take them back to their Father’s House.
Prof Felipe Aquino
Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino