Monday, April 2, 2018

Faith across time

Each year the Church calls us during the 50 days of Easter to return to our roots, to read the amazing story of the Church’s beginning in the Acts of the Apostles. It is a reminder to us that Christianity is more than a philosophy, a guide for living. Christianity is a historical religion.  At its core are historical events: the birth, life, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, God incarnate. If one does not believe that these events actually happened, one cannot say, “I am a Christian.”

But the historicity of Christianity does not stop there. To be a Christian requires also that we believe the promise that opens the Acts of the Apostles, the promise of the Holy Spirit who, as we are told in St. John’s gospel, “will teach you all things.”  

To be a Christian is to believe that Holy Spirit continued to move in history and  inspired each of the writers of books of the Bible. The Holy Spirit inspired the Church in the process as she discerned what writings would and would not be included in the Bible. The Bible did not simply one day magically appear. 

As Christians we believe that there will be “no new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ” at his second coming.

 But we do not believe that with the completion of the Bible, God went silent and the Holy Spirit ceased to teach. 

When we say that Christianity is a historical religion we proclaim that the same Holy Spirit continues to assist the Church to “gradually grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.” Revelation is complete, but our understanding is unfolding.  For that reason when we read to Word of God it is essential that we all so listen in a special way to those known as the Church Fathers, the first generations after the Apostles. How did they understand the text?

Over these 50 days as we read the story of the early church it is a reminder to us that that same Holy Spirit that guided them continues to guide the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church today.