Archbishop Collins Describes a Christian's Role
St. Peter's Church, the huge arms reaching out, is the perfect image of Christianity," said Toronto's Archbishop Thomas Collins, pictured above at May 14's Theology on Tap. He described the modern Christian's challenges as living in relationship to others, accepting imperfection, and coming to God through prayer and the sacraments.
He pointed out that the central idea within Christianity is building community: Christians do not travel alone and often come together – like Faith Connection's gatherings.
And once gathered, he said, "We come together on Sunday round the table of the Lord." Christians might be diverse and difficult at times – "a big grab bag" — but we are called to make peace with each other. He continued the image of family, saying that the Pope represents the unity within this group and the saints are part of our extended family.
We need to get over the idea that we will find perfection in the Christian community, the Archbishop said, continuing, "Even if they are perfect, once you join them, they will cease being perfect." He reminded us that we are called to be holy not in the manner of angels but as human beings.
Archbishop Collins spoke of the sacraments as representing God working at a human level. With real compassion, God lifts us up using signs like water, oil, and candles — physical things, because of who we are. We can do things alone, he said, but the basis of our faith is relational. He used as an example the sacrament of penance, where we experience the profound reality of God's mercy. Not to mention, he said, "Dumping the garbage is a good idea." The celebrant brings us back into unity.
Archbishop Collins described the Eucharist in this way, "Signs point us the way, but with the Eucharist, the sign is the way. Communion brings us to the reality of God. Other sacraments unpack that reality..."
Photo by Michael Dave Dizon