With great joy we gather today to celebrate the presence of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood in Vietnam. Here with us in spirit and prayer is the entire Congregation now exercing our ministry in twenty countries around the globe. As Moderator General responsible for the international community, I convey to you the love and support of all our Missionaries. Present in a special way are the members of the Kansas City Province through the presence of its Provincial, Fr. James Urbanic.
I would like to reflect briefly on the meaning of this occasion in light of this Sunday’s readings, for they offer important insights for understanding our presence here.
One Body – Many Charisms
The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians sets the tone for understanding the occasion we are celebrating today. St. Paul speaks of the Church as a Body with many parts, with different members all of which are necessary and each serving a purpose. For the body to function properly all the members are needed.
The reading goes on to speak of the different charisms in the Church. Again each one is distinct, but contributing to the good of the whole body.
This reading helps us to understand the function of religious life in the Church. Each religious congregation has received a charism, a gift of the Holy Spirit for the building up of the Body and for the furthering of the Reign of God. A charism is a gift to be shared for the enrichment of the whole community of the Church. This is so because the mystery of Chirst is so great that it can be approached from many angles and because the Holy Spirit calls forth within the Church religious communities as a response to the needs of the times and circumstances. Some communities were founded long ago, some are more recent. Some are large and famous, some are small and relatively unknown. But as St. Paul reminds us, each member is important for the good of the whole body.