and our love must be focussed on
Christ, our Risen Lord. We cannot prescind from the
particularity of our Christian faith. Christ is the Way, the
Truth and the Life and our mission is to communicate that
Truth to all humanity since it is the Truth for all
Two other pictures follow
on logically and naturally from the scene of the cross. One,
of course, is Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit - the Spirit
of the Risen Lord - was poured out upon Our Lady and the
apostles. This created a completely new life and a
completely new kind of human unity which St Paul described
as "communion in the Holy Spirit". In the power of the
Spirit the apostles preached the message of Christ the Risen
Lord and baptised those who put their faith in Him. Thus the
Church came into being.
The Acts of the
Apostles gives a beautiful vision of the Church:
"These remained faithful
to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood,
to the breaking of bread
and to the prayers."
"The whole group of
believers was united heart and soul; no one claimed for his
use anything that he had,
and everything they owned was held in common."
The word "brotherhood" in
the above text translates the Greek word koinonia
which we translate as communion. Literally the word
"communion" means shared participation in a single reality.
It is clear that St Paul understood the Church as the
body of those who participated together in the Holy Spirit.
Hence his famous greeting at the end of the second
letter to the Corinthians: "The grace of the Lord Jesus
Christ, the love of God and the fellowship (koinonia)
of the Holy Spirit be with you all."
Growing in Communion
suggest, is fundamental for our vision of the Church. I
propose it, too, as a way of understanding whatever
groupings, movements, or associations we may belong to
and also as a guiding principle for discussions and
processes that grapple with issues of development and
change. It also tells us what we are trying to nurture
together - deeper communion in the Holy Spirit. I would
connect koinonia with a secure guideline for
planning for the future in the Apostolic Letter of Pope
John Paul II, "Novo Millennio Ineunte" when he
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