As a parish worker, I get many phone calls that begin with someone telling me they “are not members of the church.” Often with a torrent of words, the caller explains why their family hasn’t registered before, or why they were away from church. My response is simply, “You called, so you are here now!”
As members of the body of Christ we are “no longer strangers and sojourners,” as St. Paul reminds us. We are “fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God.” It is essential for us to understand and embody what that means.
We often believe we are not worthy and do not matter. Yet, the apostles, as flawed as they might have been, were the first “living stones.” We follow in their footsteps, necessary to the chain of being that is Church. While Christ is the capstone, God is the Great Builder who calls each of us to be part of what makes the Body sacred and whole. Consider the power of that image. The structure cannot have integrity without all members present.
Are we preoccupied with deciding who should be members of the Church and who should not? Are we using superficial criteria to deny membership? God has imbued every life with dignity upon conception and given grace with each sacrament. We are all on a journey. Strangers become beloved human companions that build the Body of Christ. Sojourners emerge as beloved members of the household of God. In this way, the Kingdom becomes whole, God dwelling within.