Joined Together on a Sacred Journey – Reflection for 4 AUG 2019
Over the past several weeks, we have considered what it means for our parish to be submitted to the authority of Holy Scripture and formed by Liturgy and Sacrament. For the remainder of Ordinary Time, we will look at the ways in which we are joined together on a Sacred Journey.
To begin, let us consider that we are joined together as a parish. How are we joined? We might consider that we gather together by choice or preference or convenience. Some might consider that a church, but the parish has a broader meaning. Traditionally, a parish was defined by geography rather than attendance. The parish included all of the people within the area, whether they attended the church in the parish or not. This traditional definition may not fit with the multiple denominations and increased mobility of today, but is is instructive to consider that there may be more than personal choice involved in the joining together of the parish. We might instead consider that the Holy Spirit has a role in uniting or joining us together as a parish, and if the Spirit is active in joining us, the Spirit is also involved in drawing us into the community of the parish. Paul describes this work of the Spirit in forming church as one body with each of us as individual members. In this way, we suffer together, we rejoice together, we journey together.
What does it mean to be on a Sacred Journey. As we look within the Biblical narrative, we find a number of journeys. We see Abram called to journey from Ur to Canaan. We see the Exodus journey from slavery through the wilderness and into the promise. Later, we see the journey of disobedience into exile and the journey of redemption in the return from exile. In our Gospel narrative, we are following Jesus and his disciples as they journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. Later, the narrative of the spread of the gospel follows Paul as he journeys in obedience to the call of Christ. We find in the Biblical narrative and also reflected in our own lives that our journey may be one of obedience to God, of disobedience, or even of ignorance. Thus we describe our parish as on a Sacred Journey to remind ourselves that we are following God as we journey. This is a journey of transformation, a journey that will often lead us through wilderness and into promise.