A concern in every parish is its unity. Yet, in every parish there is often disunity. The differences appear over the liturgy, over some obscure point of philosophy, over personalities, rivalries. Parishes and pastors often can resolve this through a shared vision and mission statement. Sometimes it might result from a building project, focus on a mission or sister parish somewhere, and shared opportunities for prayer. I have found that one major way to this unity that St. Paul speaks of to the Corinthians was engagement in some project external or outside of the community, and the most supreme way to this unity is to preach the Eucharist in every sermon..St. Paul says it best and most simply, “I belong to Christ.”

We may laugh now over such obscurities as the aphthartodocetai or the problem of apokatastasis. You may be amazed to learn that people gave their lives or were imprisoned over such issues. There are those today who would die for the Latin Mass, for example.

It is not just the bishop or the pastor who must strive to preserve the unity of the church. It is the responsibility of every single member of the church not only preserve this unity but orient this unity toward Eucharist and the sharing of some common outreach.

St. Paul offers an interesting rational. “So that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of it meaning. Or in the original, “might not be emptied,” the “of its meaning” has to be added by the English to clarify what the emptying results in. The cross is then a sign that points to the sacrifice of the Eucharist and in itself embodies the union of heaven and earth.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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