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April 25, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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/ qSASC, gCATHOLIC ..... A " 25phi , 1998 Page 5 ............... t Jesus asks us to come follow Is there salvat on for those 1 Him " " and become fishers of men who don't kn Christ en doesJesus' resurrection'begin i ht of us gather each. week to read and. that all salvation is in and through ! W to empower our lives? When does E and discuss the Bible. One memherh,m. 'etg i start to make a real difference? recently quoted John 14:6 Jesus said, "I That is, however, not at all the same as tai ! _Today's first reading and gospel may am the way and the truth and the life") and saying that one is saved only through a I God's wav of answerin these aues- Acts 4:12 ("There personal, conscious and explicit faith in t~ / o l . ! 0as. is no smvatmn jesus as sawer. John structed Peter to go out into deeper wa- 21:1-19 ter and lower his nets for a catch. After Ft. William Gould 0rae momentary rumblin , Peter did so H _v v -------- .... ,. ~ e and his crew caught so many m .... to carry out the mission He has given a that their boat was almost brought us. to the sinking point. He had to call his 'When Jesus had finished speaking Partners over to help get the fish to (to Peter) he said to him, 'Follow me. shore. He addresses the same invitation to us. h Then realizing the import of what When we are willing to take our Lord happened, Peter fell to his knees seriously, we will experience what Res- foreJesus and said, "Depart from me, urrection power is really all about. rd,s for,, I am a sinful man." Jesus' re- Father William Gould s weekly column is ;Ponse? From now on you will be catch- sponsored by Little Rock Scripture Study. men." In today's gospel, we have a post-Res- Acts Urrection event strangely reminiscent of 5: Z7-32, 40-41 that had happened earlier in Revelation public ministry. After preaching 5:11-14 to a multitude from Peter's boat, He in- .In today's gospel, Peter and five apostles went out to fish. -- , ugh the night they canght nothing." bountctown .a then Jesus aooeared, told them Wile ,'* ,, re to cast their nets, and they took s0 many fish they could not haul the in." Pope Sixtus II reigned foronlyone 0When Peter realized that it was Jesus, Jumped into the water and swam to re. There he made his three-fold Ofession of commitment and was told Jesus to feed His "lambs" and tend *sheep. - 0 T.day's first reading describes some b the results. Peter and the others d"re Witness courageously. Not only !hey leave "the Sanhedrin full of Y that they had been iudced worth ill'treatment for the sake of they e, but many other assages in the Of Ac " " ts reform us that large num- uers of people joined the infant Qhurch. Nt bad for aposdes who had been rwhelrned bv the ma nitude of esus all! - g J year, from August 2571;o August 258. But Church trivia experts know him asthefirst popetotakethe na me of one of his pred ecessors. Thus, he becamethe first pope to need a Roman numeral after his na me. The first Sixtus was pope about 140 years earlier, in all,there would be five pontiffs with that name. One of them, Sixtus IV in the ELSEWHERE IN TIME through anyone else" than Jesus) as proving no one gem to heaven ex- cept through Jesus. What would you say? We find it hard to believe that so many of God's good people will never enjoy eter- Catholic teach-Fr. John Dletzen hag, and all Chris- tian tradition, agrees totally with those words, of course. We believe that Jesus is the Lord of the world and of all his- tory, that the Father has revealed to us all he can reveal in the person of Jesus 15th century, would lend his name to a very famous location: the Sistine Chapel,which he built for papal functions. As for Sixtus II, in his short papacy, he worked to restore unitytothe early Church, which had been split byquarrels. While preaching, he was seized by Romans and beheaded, martyred along with fourdeacons Decius, Gallus and Valerian rule Rome, which marks its millen nlum...Goths divide into Visigoths and Ostrogoths...Fra nks invade Spain. +o 9___0 l Leesus' resurrection begins to have . o . r m our lives when we accevt it aa .,.trUe, when we believe that He is truly in us and at work through us. It to make a real difference when I_ eCept forgiveness, deoend on the -~r~ s s r . . trength, and become wflhng The New Testament itself tells us other- wise. The first Letter to Timothy echoes other statements of our Lord and the apostles when it says God "wills everyone to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth," and that this happens through the one mediator, "Christ Jesus, himself human" (1 Tm 1:4-5). On the other hand, as Paul tells us of- ten and in many ways, salvation is impos- sible without faith. If both of those statements are true, then there must be other ways to faith, through Christ, but without explicit, conscious faith in him. To put it another way, if faith is a pure, unmerited gift of God and God's will is that all people be saved through faith, then he must have other ways of bringing hu- man beings to faith and salvation, ways we do not know. Pope John Paul II, in his remarkable book "Crossing the Threshold of Hope," notes that "God the Creator wants to save all humankind in Jesus Christ." Speaking especially of the non-Christian religions and "cultures of the Far East, the pope declares that Christ came into the world also for all these peoples, and re- deemed them all. Yet, our Lord "has his own ways of reach- ing them" he said. "Many accept him, and many more have an implicit faith in him." In saying this, the pope embraces the many good people you mention, the vast majority of the human race who, even to this day, know almost nothing of Jesus or the Gospels. It of these the "Catechism of the Catho- lic Church" speaks. hose who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a fincere heart and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dic- tates of their conscience --- those too may achieve etemal salvation" (No. 847). In other words, God's grace is guiding and saving those who sincerely and consci- entiously live good lives but who have, for whatever reason, honestly never seen faith in Jesus Christ as a personal religious ob- ligation. TAR BOLT 500 IV. 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