We keep the feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude Thaddeus. Saints Simon and Jude ventured into what is now Iran. They taught the Zoroastrians about Christ. And about the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
One, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. “Apostolic” means three things at once:
1. We believe that Jesus Himself founded our Church by choosing the Twelve Apostles.
2. We believe that the Holy Spirit infallibly guides the Church to keep and hand on the original teaching that Jesus gave the Apostles.
We have a New Testament, the 27 documents we read over and over, precisely because of this work of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles, and men the apostles knew, wrote the New Testament.
That is, God wrote the New Testament, through the authorship of some of the original members of our Church.
3. We believe that the ministry of the apostles continues to this day, and will continue until the end of time, because the apostles’ successors in office continue to exercise the same ministry. The Pope and bishops, assisted by priests and deacons, continue the work of the original Apostles.
In other words: Baptism into Christ, Confirmation, the ministry of Jesus’ Body and Blood at the holy altar, the power to forgive confessed sins: none of these are abstract things. They involve particular people—divine gifts being bestowed on particular people. The Apostles and their successors form the trunk and branches of our Catholic family tree. As Pope Francis put it: “a Christian without the Church is incomprehensible.”
Thank you, Lord, for making us a part of this family that hopes for eternal life!
Here’s a word about the parable of the leaven, which we read at Holy Mass yesterday:
The Kingdom of God is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened. (Luke 13:21)
The mustard seed growing into a big tree: visible. But the leaven that gets worked through the dough, starting a hidden chemical process: invisible—at least until the end of the process, when the bread comes out of the oven.
Unleavened bread can be good, no doubt. Who doesn’t like Middle-Eastern food? But when you’re really hungry… When the house gets filled with the aroma of bread baking in the oven… I mean, yeah.
But the yeast of the kingdom lies hidden until the end of the process. Inside us: the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the mildness, mercifulness, and zeal of the Beatitudes, the endurance of faith, the sweetness of hope for the fulfillment of all things—helping other souls by our trying to give good example: That will make the whole house of God smell good.
Meanwhile, things have gotten genuinely fun in the world of Synod-of-Bishops aftermath.
My man Ross Douthat publicly scolded. The bar scene from “Good Will Hunting” invoked.*
Meanwhile, just came across a letter to the Synod Fathers (other than the one I signed), which I sure wish I had had the chance to sign!
*Warning: A couple bad words.