SATURDAY, Easter week six
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The Responsorial Psalm is the same as yesterday, with other verses: “God is king of all the earth” (Psalm 47).
In Acts 18: 23-28 we see God’s power working outside the ordinary structures of the Church. A Jew from Alexandria named Apollos arrived at Ephesus. “He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus.” But he had been a disciple of John the Baptizer, not one of those who went around with Jesus, and “he knew only the baptism of John.” He was not really connected with the Christian community. But God had inspired him and called him, and was working through him in his ministry.
Like Paul, Apollos was inspired and sent to proclaim Christ directly by God, not by the Christian community or its authorities. But like Paul, he did enter into the community and was officially accepted. When Priscilla and Aquila, Paul’s co-workers, heard him speak “they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately.” He wanted to go on to Corinth in Achaia, so “the believers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who through grace had become believers.”
Sometimes lay Catholics hold back, thinking that to preach, teach or hold discussions about religion or Scripture they have to be formally approved and mandated by the clergy. This is to deny their baptismal consecration and mandate to continue to mission of Jesus as Prophet, Priest and King. “God is king of all the earth,” and he inspires and sends whom he chooses. Official approval by pastor or bishop is required only for ministries conducted on church property or officially in the name of the parish or diocese. Naturally, if someone begins to teach error or mislead people, the bishop may and should intervene to preserve unity.
In John 16: 23-28 Jesus tells us to ask “in my name.” He says, “Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” We need to know that we are in direct contact with Jesus, that we have immediate access to him. We act as his instruments, his body on earth. He acts with and in and through each one of us with awesome power. But what encourages and strengthens us most is knowing that we are in a loving relationship with the Father, the Son and the Spirit. “The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” This is the source of our confidence and our joy.
: Be a prophet. Follow the Spirit. Do what he moves you to do.