Saturday, April 17, 2021
2nd Week of Easter
Acts 6: 1-7
John 6: 16-21
Today’s first reading is a rather significant reading for all of us. It is particularly significant for the ordained ministers of the Church as it is the scripture referenced as the introduction of the diaconate. All ordained ministers of the Church are first and foremost deacons - servants of the Church. Me and my fellow deacons are referred to as the permanent diaconate. Priests are first transitional deacons before they receive the second level of ordination to the priesthood. Finally, the third level of ordination is priests being ordained to the presbyterate or as bishop. But all ordained; deacons, priests and bishops are first ordained as deacons. And our first scripture reading from the Book of Acts is the Church’s deliberation for and the creation of the diaconate.
In Acts 6, verse 2 we read, ““It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.” This line references the very busy nature of the 12 Apostles and their inability to serve all the people. They were reaching a point of neglecting the Word of God as they sought to serve the people. Thus they wanted to appoint servants (deacons) that could assist with serving the people while they could place more time and effort on the Word of God. But again, since all ordained are first ordained as deacons, all ordained have received the call to serve.
Let’s take this issue of serving others to another level. Since all of us have been baptized as priest, prophet and king, all of us share in the call to serve. Laity share in the service of the Church just as much, if not more so than the ordained. Bishops, priests and deacons could not possibly perform all of the functions of the Church. Thus the Church relies on the laity to assist and serve the Church. And please note, by “functions of the Church” I certainly do not mean that we are talking about the functions that occur only at masses. Quite to the contrary, the functions of the Church mean all of the functions that occur away from the physical church building. The Church exists out in the neighborhoods, in the hospitals, in the jails and prisons, in the local businesses small and large, in the homes of Catholics and non-Catholics. The Church exists out there! All of us are called to serve out there! While there is a preferential call to serve the poor, the orphaned, the widow and the sick, we are also called to serve all of our brothers and sisters throughout the world.
We have a huge calling to serve. It is a calling to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, and it goes on, and on, and on. One thing is for certain, not one of us can do it all. But everyone of us can do something. Be bold and serve!
Blessings to all.