A Faith For Others
Thoughts on the Second Readings by Joe Frankenfield
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
James 2: 1-5

Watching small children play soccer is great fun. They swarm. The ball goes right and the swarm runs right. The ball goes left and the swarm runs left. Watching their coaches is almost as much fun. “Johnny, help Billy.” “Susie, pass the ball to Gretchen.” “Kids, play your positions.” Their patience and senses of humor verge on the heroic.

Learning teamwork isn’t easy. Some of us never quite get the idea. Our earliest Church leaders put a lot of their energy into getting their communities to play together. The Acts of the Apostles tells of a dramatic incident in the Christian community’s earliest days. Two disciples, Ananias and Sophia, withheld some of their wealth from the customary community control. Peter publically criticized them whereupon both fell dead. Though the penalty hardly seems to fit their crime, the story definitely makes the point of how essential the community (and, supposedly, God) viewed each person’s commitment to the commonweal.

Many in the Church today lack a deep awareness that we don’t exist simply for our own welfare. God is creating us as much for the world’s good as for our own.

In the past the Church viewed its primary responsibility to those outside it as convincing them to think about and worship God as we do. More and more we’re realizing that such converting is at the service of the more ultimate goal of bringing the entire world to the justice and love of God’s Kingdom.

None of us has the slightest hope of realizing the vision of universal human fulfillment without the entire community’s – in fact, the entire world’s – cooperation in God’s Spirit.

Christian life is a team action.

It’s not primarily about my life, my meaning, my salvation. It’s about the world’s. Together each of us finds our fulfillment in that work: in Christ’s work.