Jean Claude Colin said “Be bold. We are building a new Church.’ Some of you may have heard the saying ‘be the Church’. Colin and the first Marists looked to us The Marist Laity, to be the Church for those beyond the reach of priests, brothers, nuns and missionaries.
How wide a scope is that. Who are ‘they’? The alienated, the disenfranchised, those hurt by the Church in whatever way (and especially in these days with the revelations of sexual, physical and mental abuse) and their families, friends and sympathisers who feel their hurt and suffering and powerless to alleviate it. There are those who believe the Church has failed the poor and the vulnerable - the very people for whom Jesus showed such compassion and love, and they question where is Jesus in the modern Church. He is there, we know He’s with the vulnerable, the sick, the suffering, the angry, the alienated, the sad, the lost and the apathetic. Some just don’t know it. Some just don’t feel it. Some just refuse to accept it.
Here’s where we are supposed to fit in.
Mary wants everyone to know and feel Jesus in their lives, why because He is the way, the truth and the life. He came to bring to the world the good news of God’s love and the way to His kingdom of love from which no one was excluded. Poor Jesus, how frustrated he must have gotten- how many times did he resort to those of you have ears, listen’ and similar phrases. It was a hard slog. He had His mission, which by his death and resurrection he had to accomplish, which he did.
And Mary had her mission.
Mary took on the job to bring Christ to the world, that was her mission. She gave Christ to the world and committed to his mission to bring all to the kingdom of God’s love from which no- one is excluded. Her commitment was total and timeless- she committed to keep bringing the saving power of Christ to the world until all were gathered under her protection and mantle to come to Gods kingdom of love. By accepting her gracious invitation to join her society and bear her name, we accepted that mission as well.
So now we’re back to where we started.
The Church works for many. The traditional Church with its traditional reach through its priests, nuns, brothers and missionaries has and is still doing irreplaceable good for those within its scope and reach. Mary through her Marist children has got that on the run- but there are so many outside that reach and that’s where we the Marist Laity according to the vision were intended to extend Mary’s reach to those on the outskirts. For Mary wants to gather all under her mantle, not just the just, but all, just and sinners alike, and might I add for our times the disenfranchised, the rejected, the hurt, the angry, the apathetic, the disillusioned. You get the picture.
Colin said ‘be bold . We’re building a new Church’ we’re taking over the world’ He looked to the Marist Laity to be pivotal in this new Church. We are the new Church. We have so much to do. Left to ourselves, we couldn’t do it. But with Mary our Mother , our patron and our boss, and the Holy Spirit, what can’t we achieve?