April 9, 2016
. . . the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts_6:1-7
The Community of Christians was growing. And the Twelve Apostles began to find themselves stretched in not being able to ‘do’ everything themselves. They realized that if they had to do ‘EVERYTHING,’ some of the important ‘business’ of being Jesus’ Apostles might be lost in the process, like preaching the Gospel of Jesus. Yet they recognized that service to God’s people was important as well.
So it was at this point that the Apostles began to delegate. They determined that structure was important to keeping the Church intact and consistent. Thus we begin to see the infant beginnings of the Organized Church. Apostles would become Bishops. Peter, their leader, would be considered the prime leader (the Pope). And these delegated ‘servants,’ who would minister to the poor and the ill, the home-bound and the imprisoned, would become the first Deacons.
In time, there would be other disciples who would offer their lives to assist the Bishops in preaching, governing and leading smaller groups of the faithful (called parishes), and these people would be the Priests. Bishops, Priests and Deacons, were and are, the three consecrated “Orders” of the Church.
In time, the Church would become a highly structured Organization and be named Catholic, meaning universal. The challenge then, would and did become, not letting this ‘organization’ go to people’s heads – filled with lofty goals of climbing ladders, wearing ornate garments, living in royalty and ‘lording’ their position and fame over others. Which was the exact opposite of what Jesus taught. It was, and is, a long learning process. We have gone down to the depths of error and have moved back to the basics, over and over again.
When we can keep our focus on Jesus, even in the midst of persecution, as those early disciples discovered, there will be JOY, and that Joy will be contagious! This is what Jesus taught! Give, not counting the cost. Love, never seeking reward. And Proclaim, even if it hurts. God WILL see us through it all! And our reward will be Eternal!
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