Monday, November 30, 2015


Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Apostle St. Andrew. In the Catholic Church we reserve the word Apostle to those 12 who were chosen by Jesus, and St. Paul who was also directly called by Jesus.  The the Holy Orders are also from the bible, from the Letters to Timothy, and the Acts of the Apostles
episcopos- literally overseer, in English Bishop
presbyteros- literally elder, in English Priest or Presbyter
diakonos- literally waiter, in English Deacon

But where do we get the idea that one has to be ordained? Why can't anyone who feels called by the Holy Spirit simply go out and preach? There are many very practical answers. But the clearest biblical answer is found in the first reading today from chapter 10 of Paul's Letter to the Romans in which we hear.

And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?

The last question is key. How can people preach unless the are sent?  From the time of St. Paul it was clear that preaching was to be reserved to those who were "sent". The Greek verb is apostello. It means set apart. In order to insure the proper handing on of the truth of the gospel, the Church throughout the centuries has had a system for designating those who speak in the name of the Church.

Jesus calls us all to share our faith, but he also understood the frailty of humanity. He understood how easily the gospel could be misinterpreted.  He saw with his own ideas what the Pharisees and others had dome to the Law given to Moses. We refer to the core of our teaching as the Deposit of Faith. And today as we celebrate the apostle St. Andrew I would ask you to pray for all those bishops, priests, and deacons who are "set apart" to proclaim His word. May we always remain faithful to the Gospel we have promised to protect and hand on.