April 25, 2021
Peter is facing powerful forces, trying to destroy Jesus and His Church. So are we today. Peter boldly proclaims Jesus. “There is salvation in no one else.” There is a solution to the worst problems of our world. There is only one: Jesus.
- During Jesus’s execution, the apostles were weak and Peter denied Jesus. After Pentecost, the Sanhedrin tried to destroy the Church, but the apostles were strong and faithful to the Church.
- The New Testament makes it clear that there is only one Savior, Jesus, and it is the Church’s role to give witness to Jesus.
- Everything that is good is in Jesus and we can lead the world and give testimony to He, who is the solution to all the world’s problems.
- John Paul proclaimed, “Open wide the door to Christ, our Redeemer.” The Church’s fundamental function is to direct man’s gaze towards the mystery of Jesus Christ.
- Humanity is searching for something great, transcendent, deeper, ultimate, good, true and beautiful but fail to understand the Jesus is the fullness of all that is good and beautiful.
- Jesus is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world.
- Each person has a right to Jesus and it is our responsibility to proclaim and give witness to Jesus Christ to all people.
In a time when the apostles were under arrest by the Sanhedrin and they were trying to destroy the Church, Peter boldly proclaimed that there is salvation in no one else but Jesus.
In today’s world, the world is trying to destroy the Church and saying that no one has the right to impose our faith in Jesus on other cultures. St. John Paul’s document written in 1990 says that now is the time for the Church to boldly proclaim Jesus and share the message with the rest of the world. It is our missionary duty to proclaim there is salvation in no one else.
There was a very dangerous moment, just a few months after Pentecost, when the Church was so vulnerable, and the same grand Council, the Sanhedrin, which had condemned Jesus to death, had arrested the apostles to try to destroy the Church at the beginning. And that’s the passage we have in the first reading today. Last week, we saw that the apostles, St. Peter and John talking to the crowds, but now this is when they were dragged before the Sanhedrin. And remember, this is the apostles at the critical moment had, when Jesus needed them, they had been weak, they had been unfaithful, they had failed. And when the servant girl was mocking Peter, Peter denied Jesus. And so this is not the servant girl now, this is the whole grand Council of the Sanhedrin, this very powerful person who wants to destroy Jesus and all that Jesus was doing. And so the Church is very vulnerable at this moment. And this is important for us today because today, too, there’s a Saint John Paul said, there’s many Sanhedrin today, those powerful, influential groups of people who, as the Psalm says, are conspiring against Jesus and His church, and want to destroy the presence of Jesus, and faith in his Church. It’s happening a lot today, so much of the powerful sectors of our society like the media, like the entertainment, social media, and so forth. And so how does Peter respond? The same Peter, who just a couple months ago, denied Jesus, he doesn’t say, well, we’re sorry, we didn’t mean to because they just healed a man. He doesn’t say we were just trying to help. He doesn’t say, well, we told the man to turn to whatever higher power he preferred, and invoke that higher power. Peter says, “Be it known to you and to all of Israel, that” ( and now he’s gonna say, the one name, which he should not say, the name which was radioactive), he says “that by the name of Jesus Christ,” (and he’s proclaiming Him the Christ, the Messiah), “by the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead,” (so he’s proclaiming their guilt), “you crucified, but that God raised Him from the dead” – “by Him, this man is standing before you, well.” So, Peter and the apostles are putting, now, their life on the line for Jesus. But Peter doesn’t stop there, he goes on to say ( and he is quoting scripture, when he says this), (there is those who are listening to him would know very well the Scripture), “He is the stone, which was rejected by you, the builders, but which has become the cornerstone.” Jesus, the cornerstone, and then Peter says, “and there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved”. There is salvation in no one else. Peter cannot say it more clearly, more boldly. And that’s the faith that we profess when we, in our creed, when we say that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. And Jesus Himself said, “I am the way, the truth, the life, no one comes to the Father, except through Me.” Jesus Himself saying, “There is no other way to the Father.” And St. Paul says, “there is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.” So to the question, are there other saviors, if Jesus is genuine, then no there aren’t. If there are other saviors, then Jesus is false. He lied, so He’s not a savior. So either Jesus is the only Savior, or He’s not a savior. God could have done otherwise. But the question is not what God could have done, but the question is what God chose to do. So as the Old Testament affirms, that there’s only one God, the New Testament makes clear that there’s only one Savior, Jesus. And that’s the Church’s role, is to give witness to Jesus. There are many things that the Church is not an expert in. And so I think that the Church, the pastor’s of the Church, have to be careful not to dilute or confuse the message of the Church, because the Church’s central role is to announce Jesus, to give witness to Jesus. I sometimes, I come back to this point a lot, because I think in the right now, in the times that we’re living, it’s important to come back to the core, Jesus. Sometimes, I think I’ve always just the only thing I’d like to preach is just Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Because in Jesus, as Saint Paul says, “is all the fullness of God.” Everything that is good is in Jesus. St. Peter said to the man who was lame, “I have no silver or gold, but I give you what I have, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise and walk.” And more than health for his limbs, Peter’s giving him salvation through faith in Jesus. That’s the Churches and that’s our service, we don’t have the solution by ourselves, we don’t by ourselves, we can’t solve all the world’s problems, we don’t have all the money all the means to solve all the world’s problems. But we can lead the world and give testimony to He, who is the solution to all the world’s problems, which is Jesus. That’s our great mission, our vocation, on this day of vocation, the vocation of each one of us, to lead others to Jesus, to help them and tell their Jesus. That’s the name we felt, the Lord was inspiring for us, for our retreat, encounter with a higher power. No, that’s not the name of our retreats, not encounter with a higher power, it’s Encounter with Jesus, Encounter with Jesus. And I want to share with you some passages from one of my very favorite documents of St. John Paul, which he wrote in 1990, on the Churchs’ missionary mandate today, because he says there’s many people saying today that the Church’s missionary role is over because out of respect for different cultures and different ways of seeing things we shouldn’t be imposing our faith in Jesus on other cultures. So I want to read to you some passages from his document. He says, ‘peoples everywhere, open the doors to Christ.” That was the great path. St. John Paul said at the very beginning of his pontificate, “open wide, the doors to Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, open wide the doors to Christ.” His gospel in no way distracts from man’s freedom, from the respect that is owed to every culture, and to whatever is good in each religion. By accepting Christ, you open yourselves to the definitive Word of God, to the One in whom God has made Himself fully known and has shown us the path to Himself. The Church’s fundamental function, in every age, and especially in ours, is to direct man’s gaze towards the mystery of Jesus Christ. And again, we live, life is complicated, our world is complicated, and so we need a simple clear direction. That direction is Jesus, that’s our direction, and He is our mission. Our mission is to share Jesus, to give witness to Jesus. That’s the Church’s role, Jesus. Jesus Christ is history’s center and goal, as He said Himself in the book of Revelations, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” God wills everyone to be saved. The multitudes have the right to know the riches of the mystery of Christ, riches in which we believe that the whole of humanity can find an unsuspected fullness, everything that it is gropingly searching for concerning God. There’s all the humanity is searching for, when searching for something greater, for something transcendent, for something deeper, for something ultimate, for something good, for something true, for something beautiful. It’s always a search, whether it knows it or not, for Jesus, because Jesus is the fullness of all that is good, all that is beautiful. Proclaiming Jesus is the primary service which the Church can render to every individual and to all humanity in the modern world. A world which has experienced marvelous achievements, but which seems to have lost its sense of ultimate realities, and of existence itself. Our world which is lost, it needs to know, it needs a guide, and that guide is Jesus. We say with St. Paul, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel.” It is the power of God, for salvation, to everyone who has faith. In the Gospel is the only power for salvation. And what is needed is faith. That’s what this whole mission is dedicated to, faith in Jesus. Because so that’s our role, Jesus brings His power, but we need to help inspire faith. Christian martyrs of all times, including our own, have, (so one of the reasons I’m reading this, because I think these words of Saint John Paul are so helpful for our world today), Christian martyrs of all times, including our own, because there’s so many Christian martyrs, right now and these days, have given and continue to give their lives in order to bear witness to this faith, in the conviction that every human being needs Jesus Christ. The temptation today is to reduce Christianity to merely human wisdom, a pseudo science of well being, striving to help man, but man who is reduced to is merely horizontal dimension, man is reduced to just a human dimension. And that’s one of the dangers of this whole COVID situation is to only look at the physical health of man, and forgetting his spiritual health, his spiritual salvation. Jesus Christ came to bring integral salvation, one which embraces the whole person, and all mankind, and opens for us the wondrous prospect of divine sonship, integral salvation. That’s what the resurrection of Jesus shows, that salvation not just for our souls, but also for our bodies. Newness of life in Jesus is the good news for men and women of every age, all are called to it and destined for it, indeed all people are searching for it. There are times in a confused way, all people are searching for it. They might not know it, they might, might have rejected Him, but all people are searching for it, because if they’re searching for happiness, they’re searching for Jesus. And they have a right to know the value of this gift, and to approach it freely, that is freely respecting each person’s freedom. But each person has a right to Jesus. We don’t have a right to hoard Jesus for ourselves, because He has given to us to share. The Church and every individual Christian within her, that is each one of us, may not keep hidden or monopolize this newness or, and richness, which has been received from God’s bounty in order to be communicated to all mankind. If we have been given faith in Jesus, it’s also our responsibility to do our part to share that. The pope talks about this, but this was written in 1990, but he’s talking about this moment in history he said, “God is opening before the Church.” So some people are saying that in this time that the time of the missionary mandate is over. And St. John Paul says on the contrary, this is more than ever, the time for the Church’s missionary vocation. God is opening before the Church, the horizons of a humanity, more fully prepared for the sowing of the Gospel. I sense at the moment has come to commit all the Church’s energies, to a New Evangelization. And what is the evangelization, it’s announcing the good news of Jesus Christ. To a New Evangelization into a mission ad gentem, ad gentem means to the nations, to all the nations. No believer in Christ, that is none of us, no institution of the Church can avoid the supreme duty to proclaim Jesus Christ to all peoples, that each one of us have that responsibility, to proclaim, to give witness to Jesus Christ to all peoples. And so, the good news is that there is a solution for all the world’s problems. There is no problem in the world today, which does not have this solution. That’s the great news. Many people in this time, so so many people are discouraged and despairing. There is a solution. But there’s only one. So we have to know where that is, which one. As St. Peter said, “there is salvation in no one else.” So in our world, which is struggling to hold on, struggling to hope, Jesus Christ is our hope. He has suffered with us and for us, suffered like us, as many of us are going through very hard times. He has suffered with us, and He is victorious. And so this Mass that we celebrate is always centered on Jesus. The Mass is always bring us to Jesus, leading us to Jesus, leading us into communion with Jesus. And so with our Blessed Mother, we also proclaim that there is salvation in no one else. Jesus, we trust in You. Amen.