Sacraments of Service to the Community
Jesus Serves Everyone
When he heard the king arrested John the Baptist, Jesus went back to Galilee. From then on, Jesus began to preach, “Turn back to God! The kingdom of heaven is near!”
Soon, Jesus traveled all over Galilee. He taught in the synagogues where the Jews gathered every week to pray. He preached the Good News of God’s Kingdom. And he healed all kinds of sickness and disease among the people.
Based on Matthew 4:12,17, 23
God the Father gave Jesus a mission. Preach the Good News: “The Kingdom of God is near!” To preach the Good News, Jesus taught the people and healed their sick.
The people crowded around Jesus to hear him preach God’s word. He stood along the shore of Lake Galilee and saw two boats docked there. The fishermen had left the boats and were cleaning their nets. Jesus got into Simon’s boat and asked him, “Put your boat out just a little.” Then, Jesus sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he finished teaching, Jesus told Simon, “Sail out to deeper water and go fishing.”
“Teacher, we’ve worked all night long and haven’t caught a thing,” Simon replied. “But, when you give the order, we’ll lower our nets.” Simon and his friends lowered their nets into the water and pulled them back up with so many fish, the nets were tearing apart! “Come and help us!” they called to their friends in the other boat. After other boat sailed close by, the fishermen filled both boats up with so many fish, the boats almost sank! Everyone, including James and John, were really amazed!
When Simon Peter saw what happened, he got down on his knees in front of Jesus. “Leave me, Lord,” Simon pleaded, “because I’m a sinner!”
“Don’t be afraid,” Jesus said to Simon. “From now on, you’ll catch people for me.” They brought their boats back up onto the shore. Then, they left everything they had and followed Jesus.
Based on Luke 5:1-11
Jesus called Peter and his friends to “catch people.” In other words, they were to help others become followers of Jesus. As Jesus traveled, he gathered followers and molded them into a community, the Church.
After his death and resurrection, Jesus gave the Church the same mission he had. When we join the Church at Baptism, we are to do what Jesus did: spread the Good News through our worship of God, our service to others, and the type of example we give with our words and actions.
Jesus calls all of us to his mission of service. Some he calls to serve as single people. Some he calls to serve as married people. Some he calls to serve in their jobs and families. Some he calls to serve inside the Church. There is a name for the call of Jesus to spread the Good News: “Vocation.”
There are two sacraments that are dedicated to serving others. These are sacraments of “vocation:” Holy Orders and Matrimony. In the sacrament of Holy Orders, men serve the Church community as bishops, priests, and deacons. In the sacrament of Matrimony, a man and a woman get married in the Church and grow together in love.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders: Men Serving the Church
While we are all called to serve, some men receive a call from God to serve the Church. They receive the sacrament of Holy Orders as bishops, priests, or deacons.
A bishop has the fullness of Holy Orders. He is the primary pastor, worship leader, and chief teacher for the local Church community (also called a “diocese). As the primary pastor, he leads the local Church with the same responsibilities Jesus gave the Apostles. He represents Christ to the local people. And he represents us, the faithful, to the other local Churches in the world. All the bishops throughout the world form a union (called a “college”). This united “college of bishops” is under the authority of the bishop of Rome, the Pope.
As the worship leader, the bishop can administer all the sacraments, including Holy Orders. As the chief teacher, the bishop has the responsibility to faithful pass on to us the same faith the Apostles had in Jesus.
A priest serves the bishop as his representative. A priest can administer all the sacraments, except Holy Orders. He can be the pastor of a parish where he serves the people as their spiritual leader, worship leader, and religious teacher.
A deacon serves the Church as an assistant to the bishop and as an example of a faithful man to the people. A deacon can not administer the sacraments, but he can act as the Church’s witness at baptisms, weddings, and funerals. A deacon has a special place at Mass when he reads the Gospel, preaches, and assists the priest.
A bishop administers Holy Orders when he lays his hands on a man’s head and prays for the Holy Spirit to give the necessary gifts of the ministry to the man. Bishops, priests, and deacons receive the sacrament this way.
The Sacrament of Matrimony: A Man And A Woman Get Married In the Church
Many people get married. So, what is the difference between marriage and the Sacrament of Matrimony? When people get married they sign a legal contract. In the eyes of the law, they form marital union that has certain rights and protections.
People who get married in the Church also sign this legal contract. But they do something more. They make promises to each other that forms a life-long relationship between the couple and God. God gives the couple extra help (called “grace”) to love each other the way God loves them. With this grace, the couple can sacrifice for each other and for their family. As the love of the couple grows, their love of God, their children, and other people grows.
The Sacrament of Matrimony is a public event. The Sacrament tells everyone in the community what sort of relationship the couple wants to have. So, the sacrament should be celebrated in a church building, before a priest or deacon who acts as the Church’s witness, and before a best man and a maid of honor who act as witnesses of the community.
The family of a Christian couple is like a little church (called the “domestic Church”). Christian parents love their children like Jesus loved them. In the home, Christian parents pray with their children, serve them with love, and raise them with Christian values. In a small way, the Christian family reflects the love, activity, and values the Church has.
Jesus Calls All of Us
As he traveled along the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw Simon and his brother, Andrew, at work fishing. “Follow me,” Jesus called out to them, “and I will teach you to catch people.” They set their work aside at that moment and followed Jesus.
Based on Mark 1:16-18
Jesus calls all of us to serve. There are different ways to serve. Some last only a little while. The Sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony are meant to last a lifetime.