Day 32: Freedom to Forge Community
By Marco Casanova
DSM Assistant Director
A couple of years ago, Andrew and I were running a half-marathon. On route, we passed my midtown parish—traditional, profoundly devoted to the liturgy. Her stature catches the eye. The copper domes tower over the main street. What a neat sight, as if the church was cheering us on to finish well!
In the Spirit, Andrew saw a flood of ‘living water’ pouring forth from the church’s altar out onto the street. We wondered: has God positioned this parish, right in the heart of ‘gayborhood KC,’ to become a prophetic ‘hospital’ for the sexually broken?
Andrew’s vision envisioned me.
Proposing Living Waters to the pastor was the next step. I wasted no time, joined forces with Abbey Foard, and made a beeline to the priest. Excited that this ‘prophetic vision’ had decisive direction, I was nervous that the vehicle of Living Waters could be a ‘tough sell.’
I came ready to defend; the pastor came ready to schedule. He needed no persuading.
‘City on a Hill,’ a KC Catholic young adult community, introduced me to some amazing friends. I told them what Jesus did for me. It sparked what Jesus could do for them. Why not invite them to Living Waters? Why couldn’t we become the healing community?
Trust the Lord and raise your voice. Invite and envision others into this healing work! Jesus honors our desire to make His Church ‘a place of springs’ (Ps 84:6).
A young woman sought freedom from a past abortion that plagued her still. Shame repelled God’s mercy. Her small group didn’t leave her side. Together, Jesus’ mercy had the last word.
A young man wanted freedom from the domination of same-sex attraction. He wanted to be a gift, not disqualified from man-woman relating. Jesus awakened a fiery hope in him. His past abuser didn’t have the last word. Masculine sonship is his identity now.
We need ongoing community because we want others to get free and to remain free.
Forging healing community can be risky. I had to face pastoral challenges, fears, rookie mistakes and ongoing formation of a team. At times it was overwhelming. But Jesus never ceases to refresh the vision in me, especially when the race seems endless.
The truth remains: God’s blueprint of salvation is communal. Without the Church there is no salvation. We are saved through community. No one is exempt. The Church is where we heal Jesus’ way. Join me. Let’s forge community together, right where we worship.
‘Jesus, rouse the gift we are. Help us to attend to the treasure you summon from the trash. Free us from our constant faultfinding and free us for vestiges of paradise in our memories and in our lives today. We refuse the liar who tries to rewrite Eden out of our histories. Unite us to the home of our original dignity.’
‘Jesus, have mercy on us as Your Church. We have abused weaker members, including children, and protected ourselves. We have violated the most vulnerable. In Your mercy, free us to superabound with justice. Grant us Kingdom discernment and courage to reform ourselves. May our repentance grant us Kingdom authority to strengthen the weak, discipline violators, and restore the violated.’