Jesus played the five roles of servant, friend, teacher, shepherd and way to the Father. Our parishes can bring Jesus to life for people by letting him play those roles through us.


Saturday, 4/13/13

The Apostles decided they should let others take care of the business side of the church, leaving them free to tend to spiritual matters. Cardinal Avery Dulles, who died five years ago at ninety, wrote a book on that subject, calling it Models of the Church. His book pointed out that to carry on the work of Jesus, the Church had to take on the five roles that Jesus chose for himself.

First, he was our spiritual leader, saying, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Second, he was our teacher, saying, “You call me teacher and Lord; and you do well, for so I am.”

Third, he was our servant, saying, “I did not come to be served, but to serve; and give my life for the many.”

Fourth, he was our friend, saying, “I will no longer call you servants, I will call you friends

Fifth, he was our shepherd, enriching us with sweet grass and clear water, doing what's needed to keep people healthy.

Dulles pointed to the unbalanced results that come from churches modeling themselves too much after one or another of Our Lord’s roles. Such churches err by giving themselves completely to fellowshipping, to memorizing the catechism, or to liberating people from poverty.  Dulles’s beautiful thesis has us giving ourselves to following Jesus evenly in all five of his roles, because by so doing, we let Jesus come to life through our ministry.

1 comment:

Brian Schoonover said...

Thank you Fr. Sullivan for providing all of us with a MODEL for how a healthy and effective Parish Council could resemble Jesus.

Dr. Brian Schoonover
Director of Missions and Parish Operations
St. Anastasia Catholic Church

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