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The Church is Like a Basketball Team?

July 23, 2015

Tags: Apostolate, Holiness, June 26, Philippines
We offer some excerpts of the homily of Bishop Francisco de Leon, Manila (Philipines), on the liturgical feast day of St. Josemaria Escriva.

Read the completed text.

All are Called to Holiness
I use this analogy of a basketball team for the Church. The Church has members with different roles or functions. We have the Pope, the bishops, the priests, the deacons, the lay ministers, and the laity in general. Each has a different role or function. But if the clergy acts like the laity, or the laity like the clergy; there will be confusion and division. The Church as a whole will have difficulty to fulfill her mission given to her by the founder, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even if each member of the Church has a different role, ALL are called to holiness. The genius of Josemaría Escriva – whose 40th death anniversary we are celebrating today – is to make this crystal clear, emphasize it, and form a body of men and women help to help other persons see this, and become holy.

There have been members of the laity who were holy and were canonized as saints, like St. Zita (the patron of housemaids), St. Apollonia (the patron of dentists), St. Cecilia (the patron of musicians), and St. Thomas More (the patron of lawyers). The parents of St. Therese of Lisieux are being considered for canonization; and if they are, they will be the first couple (husband and wife) to be canonized.

St. Josemaría emphasized well that holiness can be attained by ordinary men and women in their profession.By doing their work – at home or in the office, in school or in politics – honestly, lovingly, professionally, with perseverance and long-suffering, ordinary men and women can attain the heights of holiness.


Holiness and Apostolate
Concomitant with holiness is apostolate. A holy person cannot remain holy if he or she does not reach out to others. Someone called to be holy is called to be of service to others. The laity is holy when she reaches out to others in all the aspects of the human person: bodily, for example teaching the person livelihood, so that he may have some means to live; mentally, for example teaching or educating the slow ones; and spiritually, for example bringing them to the sacraments and giving them good example.

Holiness and the apostolate are like two hands. They need each other. It is easier to work or wash if you have two hands. Holiness and apostolate is just one aspect of the genius of Josemaría Escrivá. We know that there are still many gold nuggets in his teachings and writings. If we focus on holiness and apostolate, it is more than enough for the time being.


Read the completed text.

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