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What is our mission for the Reno Diocesan Conference?

Shots from in and around Reno Nevada-slide0
Charles W. Gill II

Bishop Calvo asks us in his call for a new synod for the Diocese of Reno:

“By our baptism, all of us—clergy, religious and laity—are responsible for the mission Christ has entrusted to us as a body. How do we prayerfully discern together the way we are to fulfill this mission here and now? How can we listen together to the prompting of the Holy Spirit so that we may walk together where the Spirit leads?”

The first key word in this passage is “Mission.” What is that mission? If we do not know what that mission is, we cannot fulfill it. Without a clear statement from our Bishop in this regard, each sheep goes its own merry way. Our Catholic Catechism stands upon four pillars, the pillars our Bishop should look to in answering this question. The pillars are Ten Commandments, Sacraments, Creed, and Prayer.

Deuteronomy 5 relates the Ten Commandments, “You came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the heart of heaven, with darkness, cloud, and thick darkness. The NAME spoke to you out of the midst of the fire. He declared unto you His Brit, which He commanded you to perform, Ten Words; and He wrote them upon two stone tables.”

The next chapter has these “Ten Words.” There are upwards of 18 commandments. How do we reduce these Ten Commandments to ten? Mark 10:19 has Jesus list the last five of the Ten Commandments followed by commandment number five. He lists St. Augustine’s last two as one commandment. Our prologue to the commandments is his first commandment.
“Not with our fathers did the NAME cut this Brit, but with us, all of us, alive, here, this day.” Remember, “I am the NAME your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of menial labor.” You will remember what it was like to be there, and you will remember your rescue. When you see others suffering, you will do something.

In, “On Christian Doctrine,” chapter 16, section 26, St Augustine explains how he counts the Ten Commandments. The lyre had ten strings numbered in terms of three and seven. In the City of God, Book 2, Chapter 21, St. Augustine defines a republic in terms of an orchestra. The Romans would not have easily identified with the abusers. To them, St. Augustine gives a different count, one related to something they understood, music.

Our mission is remembering what it was like to suffer, in the Irish Potato Famine, in the Civil Wars of 18th Century Europe, in the sweatshops of our inner cities of a century ago, in our slavery of the Deep South, in our Native American reservations. We do this liturgically through our sacraments, in particular Baptism, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, and in particular the source and summit, as our G.I.R.M calls it, the Eucharist.

Matthew 25:31 through Mathew 26:1 which begins the Passion. As we do to the least of these our fellow citizens, in Reno, in Washoe County, in Nevada, and in the USA, we participate in the Passion. God tells us at the end of Matthew 7, he will remember our choices. This is our mission, as individuals, as a Catholic Community, and as a nation.

The Hebrew word for “Ten,” and the Hebrew word for “Happy,” is the same. The Jewish community divides Torah/commandments into three parts. These are, Haggadah, or story, Hallacha, or walk, and Midrash, or study. We read the story in present time. The event repeats liturgically, in present time. It becomes physically present to us; we live it again, for the first time. From this comes remembering what it was like to hang with Jesus, live his life with him through the Gospels, and then we die with him. We remember what it was like to be there, and then we do something. This is our mission, as individuals, as the Catholic Church, and as a nation.