Christian community is a community of God, living the life of the resurrection. It should be a community of love and peace, a community inspired by Jesus’ values. It should be a community witnessing Jesus in their communities and anywhere they go. It is a community of shared-love. It is a community honest to each other and sharing the same faith and is faith-filled. It should be a community on the same spiritual wavelength with each other. They share each other’s sufferings and they help each other reduce their burdens. They do not add more burdens to each other. Through sharing they grow and discover where they have made mistakes in life and they work hard not to make such mistakes again. A community that knows each other and understands each other is an ideal community. But a community that discriminates is “one kind community”.
A community that does not appreciate the gifts in each other is not a good one. A community that is jealous of each other is not a growing community. A community that makes use of their differences is an encouraging community. A community that causes pain to each other is not a good one. A gossiping community is not a community of love; It is a community inflated with hatred and jealousy and unable to sort things out easily. It is not a growing community. It is a wounded community, lacking love, peace and justice. The members of such community are just there as a number. They cannot experience the love of Christ in that type of community. Such a community is not a Eucharistic community. The Eucharistic community is one who shares the body of Christ with love. They have a BOND WITH JESUS and they abide in God and God in them. They owe nobody anything other than love and the love which is of Christ unites them. They are always ready to extend a hand in friendship with others who are not their members, they are hospitable.
When a community does not speak with one voice it becomes fragmented and suspicious of each other and that is the end of such a community. A community exists to inspire each other. When a person lives outside the community, he breaks the community norms and it is not likely that he will be a part of that community, but the community should find out when a member is no longer a part of the “Whole”. Good communities always look for the “Strayed” and bring them back. This is what happens when a community cares. A community that is responsible to each other always looks for the wounded members. It looks for those who were once rich but now poor. They do not neglect any member because they were once a part of the WHOLE. A community should be grateful to each other’s contribution, which lead to their growth.
When a community is service oriented and no one is seeking for his own interest, the community grows without hurts. When a member of a community has a misplaced priority and false values it affects the whole community. Crisis in the community can emanate from those who do not have community spirit, and those who do not want to grow in the community. A community divided by sin, prejudices, social injustice, hatred, fear of each other and not living according to the Gospel values cannot attract God’s blessing. Jesus was brought up in a community and lived there before his public ministry and let us be community-conscious and Christ-conscious in our various communities.
Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah