Friday, December 18, 2015
Small Christian Communities Worth the Effort
Korean Catholicism has spent a great deal of time working with small Christian groups in the parishes. An article in the monthly bulletin for priests on pastoral matters, questions, whether the efforts have failed.
Parishioners do not attend is a common complaint. Members heard words spoken at a group meeting spread to the larger community, and stopped coming out. Groups get involved in arguments about politics and stop meeting.
The writer agrees failure to respect confidentiality, and conflicts over societal problems have done harm to the movement but are these problems confined to the small-group movement? Is it not more correct to say they are problems the Church community has?
When we look into the mirror and see some disfigurement, we don't blame the mirror for what we see: smashing the mirror doesn't make the disfigurement disappear. The problems we have in the small communities are the ones we have in the Church. We can take the population of the world which we can consider 7 billion and see it as a population of 100, and determine from the hundred how many are literate, malnourished, have computers are college graduates and the like. We can use the 100 as a mirror of the 7 billion.
The work we are doing with the small communities are opening our eyes to the work that we need to do with evangelizing in the Church. The small communities are a mirror of the whole church. By getting rid of the small communities, we know the problems with the church, remain. We need to understand the problems, and begin to evangelize and work pastorally to overcome our failings. "Let us not give up the habit of meeting together as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more...." (Heb.10:25). We need to return to this way of thinking.
Positive values from the small-group meetings are obvious: Christians are reading the Scriptures, reflecting on what they read, and is influencing their daily lives. This alone is enough to want them to continue. The writer wants to see the seeds of the Gospel spread at these meetings, and our parishioners filled with a new vision: a community on fire with the Spirit and a dynamic force for good in the world.