Notes from Father Brendan

July 14, 2024

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The humble beginnings of the Church are truly beautiful. While the “birthday” of the Church takes place at Pentecost, it is but a few years before that date, we see Jesus “called to him the Twelve, and began to send them out two by two.” In this we see how deeply our faith is rooted in community and fraternity. “No man is an island” is very true. Even the great spiritual masters in the history of the Church, some who lived truly secluded hermetic lives, like them we are never truly isolated and siloed off alone when we are rooted in Christ.

As Jesus sends out these six pairs, they are about to embark on the most important mission of their lives. The apostles are set apart and singled out, upon them Christ bestows particular authority, and we would imagine that they ought to be well prepared, if not even over prepared to embark on this mission. Yet, Christ instructs them to do the opposite. “He charged them to take nothing for their journey,” they were to only hold with them the bare minimum.

For anyone else, this would be a recipe for disaster. This looks like a case of poor planning that will result in utter failure. Yet this is the avenue that the Lord laid out for them. When armed and charged with the authority of Jesus Christ, they have all they need. As they went off and preached repentance, they drove out many demons, lead many to healing and conversion. All of these wonderful acts are performed not through the strength or ability of the Twelve, but through the power of God.

It is an important reminder that whenever we hear of miraculous works from the saints, or are moved by the holiness of another person, the glory belongs to God alone. The greatest saints in our Church did not become that way through “earning” God’s grace, they were the ones who were most docile to cooperate with God’s will and allowed God to act through them. The Twelve were sent out in pairs without extra provisions or comforts because armed with God’s authority, allowing him to work through them, they were successful and had all they needed.

Our Church is Apostolic, founded by Christ upon those Twelve as the foundation. Their commissioning and being sent out is an act we see still unfolding to this very day. Their successors, our Bishops, continue to lead the Church both practically and spiritually. Christ’s message of repentance is repeated an echoed throughout the two millennia. The gift of faith that we have, it was something handed on to us. Many of us from our parents and grandparents, or for some it was the influence of a good friend, teacher, or priest. However the faith arrived in our hearts, it was planted there through the grace of God. And the spreading of that faith began with the sending out of these pairs of men. What a gift we have in belonging to so great a Tradition, an unbroken line of faith that connects us still to Jesus and his Twelve Apostles.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Brendan