“What Christ entrusted to the apostles, they in turn handed on by their preaching and writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to all generations, until Christ returns in glory.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #96) The apostles followed the command from Jesus that we heard in today’s gospel: Go into the world and proclaim he gospel to every creature. This commissioning of the apostles sounds very similar to Mt28:18-20 and Lk24:47. Jesus inaugurated the kingdom of God and commissioned his followers to complete the work that he had begun. We must remember that we are passing on more than facts about the Catholic faith that we profess. We are sharing who Jesus Christ is to us. Each one of us has a personal relationship with Jesus and we are called to introduce someone to our amazing friend.
The Acts of the Apostles begins with the Ascension of the Lord. In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. We witness to Jesus Christ only by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our thoughts, words and actions, wherever we find ourselves and however the Holy Spirit inspires us to do so. The apostles became bold witnesses only after receiving the Holy Spirit. Before the apostles encountered the risen Christ and received the Holy Spirit, they were very much afraid, hiding in fear. The transformation was incredible. We will hear more about it on Pentecost Sunday. The apostles’ lives were forever changed. What about us? Have we been transformed by the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in us? Do we have the “fire” of the Holy Spirit’s love, burning away in us all that does not belong to Jesus Christ? Have we unwrapped the gifts of the Holy Spirit received in a special way at our Confirmation?
The mission to witness to Jesus Christ was given to us at our Baptism. If we were Baptized as infants, our parents accepted the mission for us. Now, as adults, we take ownership for the mission by living our faith each day, by the power of the Holy Spirit! “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.”