This weekend we hear about the commissioning of the Deacons in the Acts of the Apostles. For many people, this is an unremarkable story. However, when you look a little deeper at the context you find some very interesting theological points.
First of all, the reason for the commissioning of the Deacons was that the Hellenist’s widows were being ignored. Rather than kick them out or tell them, “Sorry about your luck!” the apostles chose to make Deacons to help take care of the needs of the congregations.
Secondly, they asked for recommendations from the community who were upstanding and full of the spirit. They were not chosen to serve themselves or to be the center of attention. They were called to serve the community. Their calling was to help others rather than themselves.
Thirdly, they chose to focus the role of Deacon on the marginalized in their midst. They were called to serve the poor, the widow, and the orphans. They were to make sure everyone was treated equally.
Today, Deacons do far more in the church than when first instituted. They assist at the altar, they visit the sick of the parish, they preside over weddings and funerals. However, their call remains the same. They are called to be a uniter in the church, not a divider. They are called to set aside their ego and serve all people. They are called to stand by the truth and not promote lies.
Many Deacons today fail at this job. However, we work every day at our parish to make sure our Deacons not only have the tools they need to succeed, but also maintain this calling to its fullest. Pray for our Deacons as they work to help grow the body of Christ and to maintain equality for all people.
Pax et Bonum,