Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fellow Apostles

by Fr. Louie
10 Feb 2011

The sacrament of Baptism that we received did not only purified us from all sins, but also made us "a new creature," an adopted son of God, who has become a "partaker of the divine nature," member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. (cf. CCC 1265 ) Such honor is so great for unworthy sinners like us. However, through the sacrament of Reconciliation, we unceasingly experience the love and mercy of God. Moreover, our souls are continually nourished by participating in the celebration of the the Holy Eucharist and the reception of other sacraments. Truly, God gives us all the necessary means to be with Him, to be for Him, if only we would submit ourselves to Him.

When Jesus Christ our Lord called the "apostles" to a new life and ministry, He did not choose the wealthy nor the powerful; but those who are poor and public sinners. He "sent them" to preach the Word of God. From the Greek word ἀπόστολος or apostolos, an "apostle" literally signifies "someone who is sent". 

As faithful catholics, we are the modern-day apostles. We are sent to different parts of the world to preach the Good News. Through the sacraments, we are strengthened. Through our faith, we endure. Through our very lives, we witness. 

The Apostles Filipino Catholic Community is not just a virtual community on Facebook but a truly existing and alive community in Rome recognized by Centro Filippino di Roma and made up mostly Overseas Filipino Workers. More or less, we are 130 in number. We gather every Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist. We have different committees that organize different events such as seminars, recollections, pilgrimages, and catechism classes among others.

On April 18, 2010, AFCC extended its presence to the worldwide web making it aworldwide community of modern-day apostles. We are committed to preach the Word through any means and one of them is the use of the internet which the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI himself mandated.

Here in Rome, the word "apostle" to refer to our community is more popular than its abbreviation AFCC. One time a lady asked me, "San kayo magmimisa, father". I answered "Sa parocchia di San Damaso" and she answered back, "Ah, sa apostles".

I am an apostle so much as you are an apostle by virtue of the sacrament of Baptism. Take note that I used the indefinite article "an" to refer to us because the definite article "the" as in "the apostles" always pertains to our patron saints:

Peter: Renamed by Jesus to Peter (meaning rock), his original name was Simon bar Jonah;[Mk 3:16] was a fisherman from the Bethsaida "of Galilee"[Jn 1:44], cf. Jn 12:21. Also known as Simon bar Jochanan (Aram.), Cephas (Aram.), and Simon Peter.

Andrew: The brother of Simon/Peter, a Bethsaida fisherman, and a former disciple of John the Baptist.

James, son of Zebedee: The brother of John.

John: The brother of James. Jesus named both of them Bo-aner'ges, which means "sons of thunder'.'"[Mk 3:17]

Philip: From the Bethsaida of Galilee[Jn 1:44]

Bartholomew, son of Talemai; usually identified with Nathanael, who is mentioned in Jn 1:45-51.

Matthew: The tax collector. The similarity between Mt 9:9-10, Mk 2:14-15 and Lu 5:27-29 may indicate that Matthew was also known as Levi.

Thomas: Judas Thomas Didymus - Aramaic T'oma' = twin, and Greek Didymos = twin. Doubting Thomas.

James, son of Alphaeus: Generally identified with "James the Less", and also identified by Roman Catholics with "James the Just".

Thaddeus: In some manuscripts of Matthew, the name "Lebbaeus" occurs in this place. Thaddeus is traditionally identified with Jude.

Simon the Zealot: Some have identified him with Simeon of Jerusalem.

Paul - the apostle to the Gentiles

Having faith in God and the the zeal to preach the Word through any means, in our own little way, we may now call one another "fellow apostles".

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