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Do you still remember the names of the seven dwarfs?
Let’s see: Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy. The first five are easy to remember because they end with “y.” The sixth is Doc, and the last one is Bashful. If you can’t remember the names of the seven dwarfs, that’s fine. I won’t say you didn’t pass through childhood.
You can pass through childhood and not remember Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The same is true of the 12 apostles. Some of the 12 apostles are very popular: Peter, James, and John. But some are not so popular, like Jude, Matthew, Bartholomew, or Philip. These names are not so popular. But even if you can’t remember the names of all 12 apostles, that doesn’t make you less of a Catholic.
Why do we need to read the names of the apostles in the Bible? Because in the Apostles’ Creed, we say, “We believe in one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church.” When we say that the Church is apostolic, it means, first of all, that we trace our roots to the apostles. The apostles handed down to us what we, as Catholics, now believe in. And that is why we are apostolic, and this refers to something in the past.
But to be an apostolic Church does not only refer to our heritage or the history of the Catholic Church. When we say that the Church is apostolic, it also means that the Church must bear witness to Christ in every generation. That is an apostolic Church.
If our only boast is that historically we are linked to the apostles, and we are not apostolic ourselves, then being called an apostolic Church does not have meaning.
Ours is an apostolic Church not only in terms of history but also in terms of the future. We are an apostolic Church, and every member of the Church must bear witness to Jesus all the time. People should be able to see us and see Jesus shining through us.
If you can’t remember the names of the seven dwarfs, that’s okay. If you can’t remember the names of the 12 apostles, that’s okay. But you must not forget that because you belong to an apostolic Church, you must be a proof that Jesus is alive all the time.
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