The above are words spoken by Jesus to His Apostles. Apart from Judas, the betrayer, all of the Apostles freely chose to follow Christ. All of them, with the exception of John, died for Christ as martyrs. They truly died…gave their own lives for Christ. Most of the original apostles were not very well educated men. We know four of them were mere fishermen. We do know St Mathew was a professional tax collector. Now, St Mathew certainly could read and calculate. He probably was among the most learned of the original twelve apostles. The others were simple men, whose hearts were ablaze with their passionate love for Christ.
God, the Father, so loved the world that He sent forth His only begotten Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus loved humanity so much that even after asking His Father, “to lift this cup from me if it is Your will”, so too did Christ die and rise in fulfillment of the ancient Scriptures. His death and resurrection were necessary to pay in full the ransom needed to assure humanity of our eternal life. The Apostles and many other disciples of Christ witnessed Christ’s Ascension into the eternal life assured in the eternal promise. Still, Christ assured His peoples that indeed His Father would send forth the Paraclete, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. Eternal life in the company of our beloved Lord is yours, mine and all who choose to believe.
Like Christ, the original Apostles, and His early disciples, and His countless disciples who freely lived their lives in the image and likeness of Christ throughout these past 2,000 years, you now, at this moment, this holy hour, this day, are reminded to renew your own discipleship in the company of Christ. This Divine invitation is extended unto all peoples of good will whose hearts have felt Christ’s presence. Quite often Christ speaks to us through the words, actions, and lives of our family members, maybe our parents or grandparents, maybe an aunt, uncle or a cousin, and certainly in the lives of our own brothers or sisters, even our children or grandchildren. Our Lord is all around us. But if we do not look, we will not see. If we do not listen, we will not hear. If we do not risk our love for Christ, even amid pain or hurt, then how can we expect to fall ever more deeply in love with our beloved Lord? Take the risk! Be willing to go the extra mile! Do so all in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ. Do this and your own heart will be set ablaze in ways everlasting. This is the Good News of Jesus Christ!
-Father Michael Briese