AND THE STORY CONTINUES
During the last years of his life, a band of followers travelled with Jesus as he made His way around Galilee and Judea, healing and teaching. From among these disciples He chose twelve as His apostles. From these leaders He further singled out one. Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter, meaning rock. Declaring, that upon this rock He would build His church
The apostles lived with Jesus for three years, heard His teachings, and witnessed His miracles. Yet when Jesus was arrested, all but one fled in fear. Even the ‘’ rock’’ Peter denied Him. Surprisingly, at first, Jesus resurrection did not appear to change them much. The remaining eleven dismissed the early reports as ‘’idle tales’’ The apostle Thomas refused to believe until he had put his fingers into the wounds of the risen Christ.
Jesus finally appeared to all of them and instructed them to tell the whole world about Him. First though, they were to wait in Jerusalem for what Jesus called ’’the promise of God’’, Nine days after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, the apostles, Mary the mother of Christ; and over a hundred others soon found out what Jesus meant It was during the feast of Pentecost, when the power of the Holy Spirit filled them so profoundly that they would never be the same again. Formerly fearful and faltering, they now became bold, joyful, and courageous. Dashing into the street, crowded with pilgrims from every part of the known world, the apostles stood up, and with Peter as their spokesman, fearlessly witnessed to the resurrection of Christ. Thousands heard them preaching, each in their own language and many were baptised that day, into the new community of love, forgiveness, freedom. The final chapter of Gods plan, for bringing the fragmented human family back together had started, for on that day also, the active involvement of the new church and the laity had begun. That work continues till this day, through the offices of the catholic (universal) church. Many may shake their heads in disappointment and refer to the state of today’s world. It is not that Christianity has failed, rather it is we who have failed to be Christian. The church can be seen as a universal hospital for sinners where all can experience the healing grace of God, and become the people God intended us to be. Sadly, Christians have been unable to maintain that unity to which we are all called. The result has been a weakening of Christian witness, It is true, to the shame of the church, that many who have borne the name Christian have not lived up to its name. This does not take away from the enduring testimony of the church for over 2,000 years and still give witness to the, life death and resurrection of our Lord and Savour Jesus Christ today. The grace of God has sustained the church and He has promised to do so until the end of time. In every age there have been sinners who have entered the church and become saints through the power of Pentecost. Peter the coward –turned rock, Paul the murderer became a martyr, all the way to Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whose relentless love touched the heart of the twentieth century. So what about us, Jesus came that we may have life, and have it to the full. Why settle for anything less. It is our responsibility to witness together with an undivided voice to the fullness of his truth, or lose all that Christ won for us.