By Father Jacob Dankasa
Special to The Texas Catholic
There are things that go together so tightly that we describe them as one. A word used to describe a combination of two or more things together is “combo.” We have combos in food that bring together two or more types of food in one dish. For instance, bringing together Cheerios and milk is a combo, or — my personal favorite — shrimp, salmon, and Cajun sauce is a combo. Each of these individual foods — Cheerios, milk, shrimp, or salmon — is great eating just as it is. But when you make a combo, it becomes even more delicious. In sports, we know of players who, as individuals, are great players. But when they come together and form a combo, they win championships — LeBron James with Dwane Wade and Chris Bosh, or Kobe with Shaq are examples. Of course, each of them is good, but together their play is exceptional. Of course, we can go on to list more combos in different spheres of human life. Oftentimes these combos are favorites of some and strongly disliked by others. In many cases these combos can be separated; sometimes they break up, and life continues.
The combos described above are obviously human combos and can be made and unmade by human hands or intellect. But there is a type of combo that is inseparable and, in fact, indivisible. This is the combo of Christ and the Church. Human intellect or wisdom (or lack of wisdom) can neither create nor separate such a combo. This is a divine combo, a divine presence in the world. Jesus and His Church are a living presence of oneness. The Church is the body of Christ, where Jesus remains the head. Any attempt to separate these two will lead to a separation of oneself from God, because it’s an impossibility.
The Church as the Body of Christ is not merely about the humans that make decisions in the Church. Although the Church on earth is a human institution, it remains the Body of Christ, composed of all the baptized. Jesus said to Simon Peter, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…” (Matt. 16:13-20). Although Christ leads His church through human hands, it nevertheless remains the Body of Christ, indivisible from the head – “and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”
There are times when some people erroneously try to separate Christ and the Church in an attempt to emphasize one over the other but, in reality, this is impossible — it’s like separating the head from the body. It’s not unheard of to hear someone saying, “We need to emphasize more Jesus and less Church,” as though the Church is separate from Jesus. Surely, we may separate the human errors that can be done by the human leaders of the Church, but the Church itself cannot be separated from Christ. Hence, we must not separate ourselves from this divine oneness.
Members of the Church must always acknowledge the presence of Jesus in the Church, regardless of any dissatisfaction they may have with the human institution that leads the Church. We must continue to cherish and live as members of the Church without breaking away. Knowing that this is the body of Christ, we must all acknowledge that the Church is the living presence of Christ on earth, and we must continue to remain members of this Church by our commitment to faith and worship.
Never separate yourself from the Church; this would be separation from Christ himself. Remain united as a member of the body under the one head, Jesus Christ.
Father Jacob Dankasa is the pastor of Holy Family of Nazareth Catholic Church in Irving.