FIYH 8-9: Diversity and Unity

Let’s get to our daily post on FIYH. This next section is titled, “THE IDENTITY OF THE ASSEMBLY”

[8] The Eucharistic assembly that gathers Sunday after Sunday is a rich and complex phenomenon. Even in parishes that are more or less uniform in ethnic, social, or economic background, there is great diversity: men and women, old and young, the successes and the failures, the joyful and the bereaved, the fervent and the halfhearted, the strong and the weak. Such diversity is a constant challenge to the preacher, for our words can all too easily be heard as excluding one or the other segment of the congregation. We may not mean to ignore the presence of women when we say “Jesus came to save all men,” but if exclusion is heard, then exclusion is communicated, whether intended or not.

This is an important value to remember. A preacher is a professional. A preacher really must take the responsibility for a reasonable watchfulness over the communication with the assembly. Naturally, we’re discounting those few people who find anything small or miniscule at which to take offense. In that situation, we have more of a problem of psychology than communication science.

[9] While the diversity of every assembly is a factor that needs to be taken seriously by the preacher, and all the more so when the diversity cuts across racial, ethnic, economic, and social lines, this diversity should not blind us to another, even greater reality: the unity of the congregation. This assembly has come together because its members have been baptized into the one body of Christ and share a common faith. This faith, though rooted in a common baptismal identity, is expressed in ways that extend from the highest levels of personal appropriation and intellectual understanding to the most immature forms of ritualism and routine. And yet, to a greater or lesser degree, it is faith in Jesus Christ that is common to all the members of a community gathered for Eucharist.

Do preachers you know foster unity in the midst of the diversity of their parishes? How does one balance attention given to portions of the community (children, the grief-stricken, the fervent, the luke-warm, etc.) when such attention is warranted?

(All texts from Fulfilled in Your Hearing are copyright © 1982 USCCB. All rights reserved. Used with permission.)

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Fulfilled in Your Hearing, Liturgy, USCCB documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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