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Nike and the Lay Apostolate

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by: Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio



Free Catholic online Reousrces - Dr. Marcellino D'AmbrosioChristianity is about receiving a free gift of salvation and eternal life -- that's true. But it is also about passing it forward. But don't you need to be ordained and trained first?


Everybody likes free gifts. Advertisers know that a campaign will have much better results if there are free samples or a free gift with every purchase. A friend of mine lived by this motto: when it’s free, take two.


But when we receive a favor, we’re wise enough to know there has got to be a catch somewhere. The giver usually expects something of us in return.


In this Sunday’s second reading, Saint Paul tells us that God is the most generous of all givers. In fact his generosity is immeasurable and unlimited. He does not just give us a percentage off the price of our purchase, or a trinket to induce sales. He does not just forgive a few sins and require that we work off the rest of our tab. He entirely cancels the debt, wipes the slate clean, and as a bonus gives us supernatural insight into the cosmic plan that makes the whole universe tick, the “mystery” that undergirds history. He gives us eternal life as a free gift, and as the down-payment on this inheritance, gives us the supernatural power of his own Spirit, dwelling in our hearts.


But of course, there is a catch. We are filled with gifts so that we in turn can become givers. We owe love and worship and gratitude to the Giver, of course. But that’s not what He is most concerned with. After all, He is God, perfect in himself, and has no needs. Instead, His preoccupation is with our neighbors who do have needs. What we’ve received as a gift, He calls us to give as a gift. We are to “pass it forward.”


Fishers of Men - Free Catholic Resources

That’s why Amos, a simple shepherd and dresser of sycamores, is not just given God’s word, but is called to leave his home in Judah to bring that word to the royal sanctuary in Bethel.  It’s also why fishermen and tax collectors are first called disciples, those who receive and learn the teaching of the master, but are then called “apostles,” meaning those who are “sent out” to spread that teaching.


Funny thing, though.  When prophets and apostles bring God’s gifts to town, not everyone is excited.  The King’s chaplain told Amos to go home.  Jesus warned the apostles that some would not be interested in their message. They were to shake the dust of such towns from their feet and move on.


Baptismal Waters - Lay Apostolate - Free Catholic Online Resources

The scope of these Scriptures, however, is not simply restricted to the job description of professional clergy and foreign missionaries.  It is true that the bishops of the Catholic Church are the official successors of the apostles and ultimately bear responsibility for the Church’s mission to all nations.  Yet their role is not to do it all, but to oversee (bishop means “overseer” in Greek) and direct it all.  The Church teaches that every person who is baptized and confirmed receives directly from Christ a mandate to share in the Lord’s prophetic mission.  Prophet literally means spokesman.  While most of us will never be called to utter oracles that predict the future, we all are called to speak in behalf of God a message that sometimes challenges people and other times brings them comfort.  While most of us are not called to the sacrament of Holy Orders, we are all called to the “lay apostolate.”  And according to the teaching of the Church, we’ve been amply equipped with the spiritual gifts necessary to carry out this mission, endowed with “every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Ephesians 1:3).


Prophet literally means spokesman. While most of us will never be called to utter oracles that predict the future, we all are called to speak in behalf of God a message that sometimes challenges people and other times brings comfort. While most of us are not called to share in the apostolic ministry through the sacrament of Holy Orders, we are all called to the “lay apostolate.” And according to the teaching of the Church, we’ve been amply equipped with the spiritual gifts necessary to carry out this mission, endowed with “every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Ephesians 1:3).


Just Do It!

Of course we need to develop these gifts and hone our apostolic skills.  We need education and formation.


But neither Amos nor the apostles were perfectly polished before they were sent out.  If we wait till we know it all, we’ll never share it.  There comes a point where we just have to take Nike’s advice and “just do it!”  


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This was originally published in Our Sunday Visitor as a reflection upon the readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, liturgical cycle B (Amos 7:12-15; Psalm 85; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:7-13). It is reproduced here with the permission of the author.

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Peter, the Pope and Infallibility –

Peter, the Pope and InfallibilityThere are so many questions that our Protestant brother and sisters ask about the Papacy – this CD/AT by Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio will shed light on the history of the Papacy and will help you answer many of the common questions that they raise!

The Fathers of the Church - Who They Are and Why They MatterFathers of the Church Early Church Fathers CD by Marcellino D'Ambrosio

In a single, upbeat talk, full of examples and fascinating stories about some of the Church's most intriguing personalities, Marcellino D'Ambrosio explains who people are talking about when they refer to the "Fathers of the Church" or "Early Church Fathers. Though the ranks of the fathers include a tremendous variety of cultures, locales, and personalities, there is surprising consensus that emerges from them on a variety of the most pressing questions of our day. In this dynamic talk, Marcellino makes clear just how much these figures have to teach us.

The Blessing of Brotherhood - CD
 The Blessing of Brotherhood - CD
Ps 133: “How Good and Pleasant it is!”
In a society preoccupied with romantic love and sisterhood, Christian brotherhood is making a comeback! When Catholic men organize into a “band of brothers,” there is support, accountability, and fruitfulness in Christ that is impossible when men live as “islands” unto themselves. The burdens grow lighter and the light grows brighter when men gather together as one. This talk will include stories about what men gathered together have accomplished in the history of the church plus practical tips for men organizing themselves into small groups for prayer, study, and support.

CD - Christianity Divided
 Christianity Divided, the differences between Protestantism, Orthodoxy and the Roman Catholic Religion
Roman Catholic . . . Eastern Orthodox . . . Protestant. How did these splits occur within Christianity and what can be done to overcome them?
In this series, historical theologian Marcellino D’Ambrosio tells the story of the people, ideas, and events that led to the divisions that we live with everyday. It is not a simple story of good guys and bad guys, but a complex story of misunderstanding, passion for God, and human foibles with plenty of fault on all sides.

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