The Sacrament of the World’s Possibility (Blog #4)

tapestry section from Our Lady of the Angels cathedral (L.A.)

…if the church fails to be a community of reconciliation, it has failed its essential mission. For Paul in the letter to the Ephesians, indeed, the church would have no more reason to exist. Note that, in this respect, to be catholic is to be holy… [the church] does become the sacrament of the world’s possiblity, the sign of what the world can be.

Against this ideal—the deepest meaning of the third mark of the church—the profound human tendency to gather with the like-minded, and therefore to form “the church” on the basis of similarity rather than difference, is difficult to overcome. Even with the power of the Holy Spirit, the catholic ideal is seldom accomplished.

The Creed, p.272

In a very real sense, the “catholic” marker is almost the counterpart to the “holy” marker. The question before us as members of the true Church is how do we have both? Can Jesus himself be a model for this? What basis in Scripture can you find? What are one or two issues facing the Church today that you can think of in which this challenge of maintaining holiness and catholicity at once is a primary necessity? How do you think the Church should deal with these issues in a way that is faithful to the ideals of “holy” and “catholic”? If there are any other quotes from Johnson or the Scriptures (or any others, for that matter) that you think are relevant to this question, please include those.

If you are not a student of mine, you can view this entry for a brief explanation of what I’m doing here.