will christ's church please stand up?
"Come, I will show you the woman who is the bride of the Lamb." —Revelation 21:9
Do you belong to the Church that Jesus founded? If you do, you belong to the body of Christ (e.g. Eph 1:22-23) and the bride of Christ. If you belong to Christ's Church, you belong to the Church which holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven (Mt 16:19) and is the pillar and bulwark of truth (1 Tm 3:15).
How do you know if you belong to Christ's Church? Some people think that the Church with the best and holiest people must be Christ's original Church. However, Christ's Church has always been a mixture of wheat and weeds (Mt 13:24ff). The first apostles were far from holy. Others think Christ's Church is the one whose pastor teaches the best. This means they find the services and sermons to be helpful, inspiring, and even orthodox. So does this mean that a church ceases to be the Church of Christ if the sermons change or our evaluation of them changes? Moreover, who is the judge of what is orthodox? Don't we need the Church of Christ to discern what is orthodox rather than having people who claim to be orthodox trying to discern the authenticity of the Church?
We can know which church is the Church of Christ because the Church of Christ is founded on the apostles (Rv 21:14; Eph 2:20). Our bishops are successors of the apostles because they have been ordained by successors of the apostles. Apostolicity is the objective sign of the authenticity of the Church as the Church of Christ. Thus, we celebrate the feasts of the apostles and today's feast of St. Bartholomew, an apostle.
Prayer: Father, may I love the Church as Jesus does (Eph 5:25).
Promise: "You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel." —Jn 1:49
Praise: St. Bartholomew bore witness with power to the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 4:33). He was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke God's word with confidence (Acts 4:31).
Reference: (For related teaching, order our leaflet, Thankful to be Catholic.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert J. Buschmiller, February 17, 1998
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 25, 1998