Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Apostles…. The Big Dawgs of the Catholic Faith

The Twelve – they so often adorn facades and rest atop pillars, gilded, massive, epic figures, each Atlases on whose shoulders the Church rests…. or so we grow up imagining. But what do we know, really, about these figures when the dust of millennia settles and we glance back at Sacred Scripture? We know their names. We know they were mostly an “uneducated” lot (though schooled strong in the Book of Nature). We know they didn’t always have a clue what their Master was saying. We know all but one abandoned Him at the moment when He would have needed them most. A pretty shaky foundation for a Church, you might be thinking. But we also know that they came back to Him, and preached His Name from the rooftops, and in every conceivable way they poured themselves out for Him. That’s about it. But isn’t that what it’s all about? The good news is that this shaky foundation has Christ Jesus as the capstone, and through Him the whole structure is held together. The good news is that Simon and Jude and all of the Apostles were madly in love with the God Who had become flesh for us. They cared little about themselves anymore. It was always Jesus. The bad news is… this cornerstone has been rejected. So were all but one of the Apostles (John died in exile in his old age). Jude, whom we celebrate today, was eventually murdered with an ax, and Simon, also celebrated today, was beaten and cut to pieces. Destroyed, just like their Beloved Master. They died for Jesus. What else do we need to know? They were open to God. That’s the key. They were martyred by the world, that’s the lock. They were open to the possibility that God had come in Jesus… They were closed off and shut up by a world that did not want to hear it. A world afraid of the possibility that the Door they opened might lead to Sacrifice, to Suffering, to Real Love, and to Mercy Immeasurable. Too much work for many of us. Simon and Jude lost their lives but found themselves. And they now point us to that Cross-Shaped Door that leads to our true selves, for in Heaven we shall know as we are known. Let us pray that we too can stretch out our arms, clutching nothing, for a chance at winning everything.
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