Lay and lay Christians, subjects in the “outgoing Church”, in the service of the Kingdom. Salt of the earth and light of the world
In this year of 2018, the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops [CNBB] proposes to the Church a deepening of the importance of the laity who have always been present in the life and mission of the Church. They are Church. Throughout history, lay people had ample space to live their vocation, as they were baptized. It is enough to look at the many Third Orders, the Ecclesial Movements, the New Communities, the many organized pastoral ones. They are engaged laypersons, pastoral agents, determined to live the Gospel on a daily basis.
The Church is formed, in its expressive majority, of laymen. There are few clergymen: deacons, elders, and bishops who are at the service of the laity. On the laity, the Catechism says: “in their ecclesial communities their action is so necessary that without them the apostolate of pastors can not, for the most part, obtain its full effect” (CCC 900).
From the time the New Testament was written, lay people are important and have their place in the communities. Luke, in chapter 8: 1-3, speaks of the women who followed Jesus and helped in His mission. Let us look at the friends of St. Paul in his travels (2 Tim 4: 19); Jesus’ mother and father, Mary and Joseph, were lay people. Again: when Jesus was born, his first worshipers were the laity (Lk 2: 15-20).
Acting is much more productive than talking
To fulfill his mission well, the layperson needs to know that he is baptized, and therefore has the grace and obligation to live and proclaim the Gospel. He must seek to make a pastoral commitment, according to the gift received from the Lord. Still, it is good to remember that the layperson should work with pastors. Let us remember: the Church lives from the Eucharist . This year, unfortunately, it is common to see in social networks people who criticize their pastors and proclaim, from the top of their couches, how the Church should act. It would be much more helpful if they would make themselves available to visit the hospitals, assist in catechesis, in the cleaning of churches, and in evangelize the outlying communities, helping in the pastoral work of tithing, and, in the end, make sure that all our brothers and sisters have work, health and education: a dignified life. Acting is much more productive than talking.
The purpose of this Year of the Layman is: “As Church, People of God, celebrate the presence and organization of lay Christians in Brazil; deepen their identity, vocation , spirituality and mission; and witness to Jesus Christ and His Kingdom in society. “ With this Year, we seek “the affirmation of lay and lay Christians as true ecclesial subjects, acting in the different realities in which they are inserted, in the Church and in the world.”
May lay people have coherence between their professed faith and daily life! After all, the world and the history of humanity are the great field of the action of God’s love. We can do more, we can do better. Let us live the great gift that God has given us: the Gospel!