In his Letter to the Ephesians Saint Paul focuses on the importance of unity in the body of Christ. But unity doesn’t necessarily mean uniformity: no two of us are the same. Saint Paul makes this point clearly today: “He gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers” (Eph 4:11). We can’t all be bishops, priests, religious, teachers, catechists or Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
Our Lord gives each one of us unique gifts that we are to use to advance his kingdom and he wants each of us to respond to our specific calling.
Not many people realise that the growth of the Church depends on the way we decide to use our gifts and talents. No two people are alike, and that means that no one is replaceable. And so it’s crucial that we each use the resources God has given us to build his Church. It’s only through our loving service and devotion to Christ that the Church can grow. And the opposite is just as true: the extent to which we don’t use our gifts is the extent to which the growth of the Church is hindered.
Now some of us might think that our particular contribution is pretty small in God’s overall plan. This is far from true. This is precisely why God has given us each different abilities. For example, perhaps we can teach our faith to children. This alone could have a powerful effect on families and on the Church for generations to come. And while we might never have a worldwide audience, sharing our love of God with the people with whom we live could literally have life-and-death consequences.
As we exercise our gifts, sharing them with those around us, we advance God’s kingdom. God will always give us the grace we will need to serve him as he guides us in building his kingdom on earth.