Why is the Catholic Church a community?

Mission Lab

The Catholic Church is a community since its members share Christ’s life with one another; it is a people brought together by God.

The Church is a community of those throughout the world whom God has called to give witness to Christ and to the new life He has brought to man. This assembly is called the “People of God” and the “Mystical Body of Christ.”

When we describe the Church as the People of God and as the Mystical Body of Christ, it helps each of us to see himself as one with a group to whose destiny we are tied and whose welfare we share. This is the reality of our Baptism: we are joined to the whole Christ, that is, joined to Christ and His people, the Church.

If we are thus joined in Christ, He is truly one with us in a very intimate sense. The Church is seen as the successor to ancient Israel, and Jesus, the Messiah and Head of the new People of God, is seen as rooted in humanity by His physical birth, life, death, and Resurrection. The infant Jesus is the Son of Mary and the Son of God. He is of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Judah, of the house of David.

Through His humanity we are each united to Christ as our Savior. The divinity of Christ must not be slighted; still, that does not cancel out His true humanity. When we use the phrase the “People of God,” we see Christ, prefigured in Moses. Jesus shares a truly human nature with Moses and, like him, leads the People of God from slavery to freedom, from death to life. Christ is our Passover. When we think about the Blessed Virgin Mary, the daughter of Zion, whose Son is Jesus, we clearly see that Jesus is one of us, truly Emmanuel, our “God with us.”

God has called this community to give witness to His Son Jesus and to live the new life He has brought to men. As members of this community, we are joined to Christ through Baptism; we share in His divine life through grace, which reaches us especially in the sacraments.