Adult Faith Formation Column for the Sunday Bulletin of St. Michael Parish, Livermore, California
This weekly column is a short meditation on the Bible readings of the Sunday Mass. The meditations are direct quotations from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal encyclicals, writings of the Saints, and similar orthodox sources.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Sunday, May 13, 2012
... From the very beginnings of the Church the disciples
of Christ strove to convert men to confess Christ as Lord, not however
by applying coercion or with the use of techniques unworthy of the
Gospel but above all, by the power of the word of God. They steadfastly
proclaimed to all men the plan of God the Savior, "who desires all men
to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). At
the same time, however, they showed respect for the weak even though
they were in error, and in this way made it clear how "each of us shall
give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12) and for that reason is
bound to obey his conscience. Like Christ, the apostles were constantly
bent on bearing witness to the truth of God and they showed the greatest
courage in speaking "the word of God with boldness" (Acts 4:31) before
people and rulers.
With a firm faith they upheld the truth that the Gospel itself is indeed the
power of God for the salvation of all who believe. They
therefore despised "all worldly weapons" and followed the example of
Christ's meekness and gentleness as they preached the word of God
with full confidence in the divine power of that word to destroy those forces
hostile to God and lead men to believe in and serve Christ. Like their
Master, the apostles too recognized civil authority: "Let every person be
subject to the governing authorities ... he who resists the authorities
resists what God has appointed" (Rom. 13:1-2). At the same time they
were not afraid to speak out against public authority when it opposed
God's holy will: "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). This is
the path which innumerable martyrs and faithful have followed through
the centuries all over the world.
The Church, therefore, faithful to the truth of the Gospel, is following
in the path of Christ and the apostles when she recognizes the principle
that religious liberty is in keeping with the dignity of man and divine
revelation and gives it her support....
-- Vatican Council II
Declaration on Religious Liberty
(Dignitatis Humanae) # 11-12
The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.