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The Death of the Church

by Fr. Jack McArdle with Aneel Aranha

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

At mass one Sunday, the parish priest announced the Church was dead. "We will have a funeral service the coming Sunday," he declared. "All are invited to attend."

Their curiosity suitably tweaked, his entire congregation turned up the following week to see what he had up his sleeve. They found a coffin in the sanctuary. The priest welcomed all of them. Then he said that before he began saying the funeral mass he would like them to pay their respects to the dead church by viewing its remains. He invited them to form a line and threw the lid open. They streamed up in single file, and each person gasped as he or she looked into the coffin.

The coffin was empty, except for a mirror at the bottom, that reflected the image of the person looking in.

The Church is not a building comprising four walls, but consists of the people who believe in Christ. If the Church seems dead to us today, it is because we are not alive in it. Let us renew ourselves with fresh faith and love.

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