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4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
February 3, 2019
The Creedal Gap
By (Rev. Msgr.) Nicholas P. Amato
The Big Gap
This past week, I read an article that really got my attention.
The author points out that in the Creed that we recite together here at Mass, we profess our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. At one point, we say this: “By the Holy Spirit [he] was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.”
And then immediately: “For our sake he suffered under Pontius Pilate.” So, we jump from the birth to the death of Jesus.
There is no mention of anything in-between. The article that I was reading calls this the Big Gap.
The author asks: is there nothing here in which we also need to profess our faith? There is no mention in our Creed of Jesus’ teaching on love, service, forgiveness, caring for the least among us, and on it goes.
The point is: don’t we also have to profess our faith in what Jesus teaches us to do – in how we are to live? I think this is an excellent point.
A Vision Statement
I wonder if we might call the Creed our vision statement.
It is the vision of who God is and what God has done for us. Many groups and organizations have a vision statement about who they are.
But they also have a mission statement about what they are to do. So, for us, our mission statement is what Jesus calls us to do and how we are to live on this earth.
Our mission statement is the Scripture and especially the gospel. I believe we also need to profess our faith in this.
A Mission Statement
Let’s take a look at our first reading today to get just one idea of our mission or what’s in our mission statement.
God speaks to the prophet Jeremiah. God says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.”
They are beautiful, personal, almost tender words. And they have some real messages for our mission.
For starters, we are to see not just Jeremiah, but each baby in the womb as already known by God, as special and sacred. This means that we are to respect and value the life of the unborn.
And beyond that, God says to Jeremiah that he has already dedicated him for something. From even before birth, God has a role or mission in mind for him and for us.
This means that the life of each child and teen and young adult and middle-aged adult and senior adult and elderly adult is also special and sacred. God has dedicated each of us for something for our entire lives and we need to respect and value others with this in mind.
Lately, I have been thinking about the expression “whole life” – spelled W-H-O-L-E. I wonder if this term is better at expressing the mission God gives us – our mission statement.
My thought is that the whole life of the whole of humanity is special and sacred. So, the way we speak to and encourage, the way we guide and provide for those in our personal lives is very important.
Our support for programs that encourage expectant mothers and couples to bring their child to term is important. Our approach to affordable health care for everyone, to today’s refugees and asylum seekers and immigrants, and to all minorities is important.
All of these things and others are part of a whole life morality. Our mission is to treat all persons at all stages of life as special and sacred.
Now, this may be just one area of our mission and mission statement, but it is vital and very central.
So, here is what I suggest. In just a minute, we will pray our Creed together.
I am suggesting that today, we pause at the Big Gap – to use the expression in the article that I read. So, right after we profess our faith in Jesus’ birth, let’s stop for a moment.
And let’s silently also profess our faith in the Scripture as our mission statement and in the mission God has given each of us. Let’s make sure that we are also professing our faith in what God calls us to do on this earth.