But is that really the peace Christ came to bring?
There's something far more beautiful than harmony. Of course I'm talking about love, but I mean something specific. I mean family. It's more difficult to achieve than harmony, but a good family works together as a single unit, each member contributing his or her own specific talents. And good parents know how to bring out the best in even the most difficult personalities, so that, in the end, every member is an asset, making the family something greater than it ever could have been
otherwise. True family isn't just a harmony of individuals serving their own purposes and staying out of one another's way; the members of a family serve one another and recognize that their own greatest good is bound up in their ability to make a gift of themselves - their time, their talents, their loves - to the family.
It almost sounds communist, but the difference is in the definition of love. The gift is free. In
Christ we are set free to love. We don't lose ourselves for the sake of the whole. Instead, "it is in giving that we receive." The more of ourselves we give, the more fully ourselves we become. This is the power of God, and it cannot be refashioned without him.
God has made us a family, literally. In Christ we have become the adopted sons and
daughters of the Father who is in heaven. We build his kingdom here on earth. And like every good family, the many gifts we bring to the table are meant to be shared and celebrated. This is the secret to ministry. What is ministry, after all, but the collaboration of the Body of Christ to evangelize the world. We need each other. My gifts are assets. But the hands are not feet, and the eyes are not ears. What I lack, another member provides.
I love the USCCB document on Youth Ministry, Renewing the Vision. In particular, I appreciate it's call for us to become intergenerational in all our efforts. How many gifts (i.e. people) do we
miss out on when entire generations in the Church live in segregation?
The more we collaborate, the more effective our ministry becomes. There's no limit to the ways in which we can live this out, save our own pride as it tempts us to think we can come galloping in and save the day; that kind of power is an illusion.
So what's your gift? Is it music? Is it teaching? Is it a heart for service? Is it the wisdom of experience? And what are the gifts of the brothers and sisters the Lord has given you?
First, let us recognize those brothers and sisters as the gifts that they are, then let us work to collaborate in the one mission of Christ and the Spirit (CCC 737). How beautiful the Body of Christ really is when we bring all our gifts to the altar and offer them to the Lord in communion.