Let’s chat about liturgy and faith formation, shall we? This is really a gem of a passage in the GDC, one of my favorites:
70. In the Christian community the disciples of Jesus Christ are nourished at a twofold table; “that of the word of God and that of the Body of Christ”. (Dei Verbum 21) The Gospel and the Eucharist are the constant food for the journey to the Father’s House. The action of the Holy Spirit operates so that the gift of “communion” and the task of “mission” are deepened and lived in an increasingly intense way.
Continuing formation in the faith is directed not only to the individual Christian, to accompany them in their journey towards holiness, but also to the Christian community as such so that it may mature also in its interior life of love of God and of the brethren as well as in its openness to the world as a missionary community. The desire of Jesus and his prayer to the Father are an unceasing appeal: “May they all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me”. (Jn 17:21) Approaching this ideal, little by little, demands of the community a great fidelity to the action of the Holy Spirit, the constant nourishment of the Body and Blood of Christ and continuing education in the faith, listening all the time to the word.
At this table of the word of God, the homily occupies a privileged position, since it “takes up again the journey of faith put forward by catechesis and brings it to its natural fulfilment, at the same time it encourages the Lord’s disciples to begin anew each day their spiritual journey in truth, adoration and thanksgiving”.*
* Cf. Catechesi Tradendae 48; cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium 52; Dei Verbum 24; General Catechetical Directory (1971) 17; General Introduction to the Lectionary, 24.
There is so much to say about this very rich passage. The implication of the Church being on a pilgrimage is at once a comfort and a challenge. We are on a journey. Fine. This journey leads to holiness and demands real commitment. Whoa.
It is good that God demands “fidelity” rather than a finished product. But note that the Church recognizes this is not permitting believers to be wussies about the faith. Gradual conversion, step-by-step progress in holiness: this is difficult work. It requires the constant nourishment of the Eucharist.
Take a bit of time and read through that passage again. If you all were an adult formation session in a parish or workshop setting, I would ask about the personal path of discipleship: where are you seeing this journey take place for you as an individual. I would also ask the question of your faith communities. Saint Paul, in today’s first reading, seems to have an expectation that a community attuned to the grace of the Holy Spirit, would be in possession of and aware of the spiritual gifts in its midst:
(Y)ou are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 1:7)
How are we doing, do you think?