In fact, the Church began at Pentecost, when Christ's words were fulfilled in baptizing the Apostle's (and Blessed Mother) with the Holy Spirit. Catholics recognize Pentecost Sunday as the true "birthday" of our faith.
In my attempt to explain that, the analogy of Bride and Bridegroom popped up in my mind again (considering that's the most widely used
analogy in the Bible of God and His Church). I realized that much like any relationship, God's to the Church also developed and gave birth to what we now recognize as our faith.
Just a quick outline of my ideas:
If Pentecost is the birth of the Catholic Church, what was the conception? In my mind, that'd be Holy Thursday... the institution of the Holy Eucharist. After all, that act was Jesus handing Himself over totally (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity) to His People (the future Church).
So if Pentecost was the birth and Holy Eucharist was conception, what was His Passion and Resurrection?
It hit me - labor. Christ very concretely LABORED intensely in order to bring about total salvation.
Now my mind started working backwards... if Christ conceived, labored and bore forth the Church through Pentecost, He had to have been given over in 'marriage' at some point.
It hit me again... Palm Sunday. Jesus was presented to the city of Jerusalem with the pomp of a wedding procession. The people welcomed Him as their hero... their protector.
Still working backwards, I wondered what His introduction to the future "Church" would
be when "Baptism" came to mind. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming, he
announced to the people "Here is the Lamb of God!" John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the people (the future Church).
That means that the entire courtship was Jesus' public ministry.
So wow. I picked up a pen and jotted down the following:
Jesus' introduction to the future Mrs. Jesus (Church): Baptism by John the Baptist
Jesus and future Church (the people) getting to know one another: Proclamation of the Kingdom, 3 years of ministry
Jesus' betrothal to future Church: Palm Sunday
Jesus' consummating fidelity to future Church: Institution of the Eucharist by literally giving ALL of Himself to the Church
Jesus laboring to bear forth the Church and ratifying the Will of God - Passion and Resurrection.
The Church, finally born in the fires of Pentecost, is made new. Just as the Bride takes the name of her Bridegroom, the Church - once just followers of a preacher named Jesus - take the name "Christians" unwittingly by consenting to follow Christ's message of love, sacrifice and hope.
K, so I realize this is all over the place, but I wanted to get it all out there so I could delve into this more when I got a chance. Also, feel free to leave feedback. I've already left this
with my wonderful SD, so hopefully she'll have more to say on this as well.