THE FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
February 8-9, 2020
We live in a time and place that highly values individualism. And personal prayer is certainly very important. We can see this in Jesus’ own example: the Bible tells us that before major events in his life, Jesus would go off by himself to pray. Likewise, growing our personal relationship with God must be a central part of our faith journey.
Yet Jesus, throughout his ministry, stressed the importance of praying in community. “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I” leaves no room for doubt. He tells us that our faith cannot be something “put under a basket” or hidden “under a bed”. Yes, we are called to Christ individually, but we are also profoundly called to Him in community!
We worship in community to protect our prayer lives from becoming self-centered and self-serving, to remind us it is God who must be the focus of our worship and our lives.
We gather in fellowship to look after each other, to support each other in bad times and share each other’s joy in good times. We make sure that no one becomes isolated, lonely, marginalized, or neglected. We are there for each other, lending an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. We gently and lovingly helping to lift up those who have stumbled in their life or their faith.
We respond to Christ’s call to ministry together, bringing Him to the nations, feeding the poor, housing the homeless, and protecting the vulnerable as a people united in Him. By working in concert we can accomplish His work more effectively and more humbly, reflecting His love collectively in a way that a person simply cannot do alone.
For myself, I cannot imagine attempting my faith journey alone. My personal relationship with God, and my response to His calling, needs to happen within this community of believers.