January 12, 2024

Guest Column / Richard Etienne

What if … we become the people God has created us to be?

Richard EtienneWhat if it just starts with the gathering of the people of God and with the welcoming of each person as they are about to enter the sacred space of a church?

What if our church is more like a hospital for the broken than an exclusive country club for elite members?

What if, by initially confessing that we are sinful and broken and asking for forgiveness, the faithful become better prepared to hear God’s word?

What if the process is helped along by beautiful liturgical music and a magnificent prayer environment?

What if there are inspirational readings and stories that stir the religious imagination of the faithful that have gathered?

What if there are prayers to lift the heart of the faithful to see a “new Jerusalem” and the kingdom of God in the future?

What if those gathered bring their gifts—symbols of their very lives—to lay before the altar?

What if all those present share a meal that actually transforms them into new beings that are inspired and moved to dream new dreams of what God wills for the world?

What if these same “broken” pilgrims are then sent out to share this vision that they have seen with a truly broken world that hungers for hope?

What if eucharistic celebrations are meant to change each of us into the people that God needs to bring change in this struggling world?

What if each person is called by baptism to become the modern-day prophets who are sent into this current culture to shine light on those practices that are not according to God’s design?

What if this has always been a part of God’s plan from the beginning?

What if—in the end—the ultimate result is for us to become the people of God as St. Paul describes in his First Letter to the Corinthians, “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it” (1 Cor 12:27)?

(Richard Etienne has a degree in theology from Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad and resides in Newburgh, Ind.)

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