Christ empowers us to be apostles

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT’S clear when we consider how Christ mandated and empowered his apostles who were sent out two by two and given authority over unclean spirits. (cfr. Mk 6,7) We have to realize that this mandate and empowerment are also given to us who are supposed to continue Christ’s redemptive work till the end of time.

Obviously, this is done in different ways considering the different circumstances of each one of us. But these mandate and empowerment stand. We need to correspond to this truth about this Christian duty of ours. We may always feel inadequate for the mission given to us, but we should keep our faith strong in the words of Christ. We can hack it.

We just have to know where that true empowerment can really come from. That’s because nowadays, with the plethora of ideologies sprouting all over, there is a lot of confusion and even outright error being propagated in this regard.

True empowerment can only come from God in Christ through the Holy Spirit who now inspires the Church Christ founded on the pillars of the apostles and endowed with powers that assure her of her fidelity till the end of time despite men’s weaknesses, mistakes and sins. Remember Christ saying, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt 16,18)

In saying this, we are not suggesting, of course, that this claim be simply rammed down our throat. We should just look into history and see how the Church, despite the frailty of those governing it and the enormous challenges and crises it had to face and suffer, has managed to survive up to now. The Church indeed has the authority to convey Christ’s message and Christ himself to us.

That true empowerment can only come from God through Christ as can be gleaned from the following passages in the Bible:

-“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4,13)

-“Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Eph 6,10)

-“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” (Eph 3,16)

-“The Sovereign Lord is my strength. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3,19)

To be sure, this can only happen if we exert effort to identify ourselves with Christ who, for his part, identifies himself with us. In fact, Christ goes all the way by assuming all our sins and conquering them with his death and resurrection. And he offers forgiveness to us.

Like Christ, we have to realize that our power can come only when we are also properly detached from the things of this world. Thus, in his instructions to the apostles, he told them “to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick – no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.” (Mk 6,8-9)

Such detachment would help us to be properly focused on our duty and mission as apostles. We know very well how the things of this world can easily spoil us. We should always be wary of this possibility. Thus, we need to constantly check ourselves to see if we are still following Christ’s words.