Matthew’s Gospel begins and ends with the statement, or the promise, that God is “with” us. The word “with” does not only mean company, as in God is in our presence. The word “with” also is used as “for” and “solidarity.” We tells someone, “I am with you,” meaning: “I am for what you are doing,” or “I am in solidarity with you.” The word “with” also is used to mean “understand.” When someone who is listening to someone says: “I am with you,” they mean: “I understand what you are saying.” So Jesus as God With Us is a declaration that God is in our presence, God understands us, and God is for us and in solidarity with us. As Karl Barth says: Jesus is God’s “Yes!” to humanity.
Being a Christian is not about not doing things that are wrong, but it is about doing things that are right. It is about adopting a certain attitude that fuels those right behaviors that are positive and proactive and which transforms us as well as the world.
Every week, in churches all over the world, Christians confess belief in “the catholic church.” Some Christians do so by reciting the Apostles’ Creed which confesses belief in “the holy catholic church,” and others use the Nicene Creed which uses the phrase “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” So for many, if not most, Christians, faith in a “catholic” church is a central part of their beliefs.
But what does the term “catholic” church mean? The simple truth for most Christians is that the “Catholic Church” they confess each week probably does not mean what they think it means.