23May May 23 2021 Pentecost Sunday

May 23 2021
Pentecost Sunday

1st Reading: Acts 2:1-11

The Spirit of God gives energy to the apostles and sends them out on their mission

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs-in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”

Responsorial: Psalm 103: 1, 24, 29-31, 34

R./: Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth

Bless the Lord, my soul!
Lord God, how great you are,
How many are your works, O Lord!
The earth is full of your riches. (R./)

You take back your spirit, they die,
returning to the dust from which they came.
You send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the earth. (R./)

May the glory of the Lord last for ever!
May the Lord rejoice in his works!
May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
I find my joy in the Lord.
Lord, send out your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.(R./)

2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:3-7, 12-13

It is through the Spirit that Christ works in his community, the church

Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus be cursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Gospel: John 20:19-23

They disciples receive the Holy Spirit to continue the mission of Jesus

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

The Spirit who bears fruit

In our churches there is no shortage of images, mostly statues, paintings or stained glass. They are mostly images of Jesus, Mary and the saints. There are also images of some Old Testament figures like Abraham and Sarah, or Moses an Miriam. There is a long tradition of images within the church, beginning with the paintings in the Roman Catacombs. The Holy Spirit, whose feast we celebrate on Pentecost, does not lend itself easily to imagery. The traditional image of the dove is drawn from the scene of the baptism of Jesus. But the language in that passage is rather vague; the Holy Spirit descended like a dove, or in the way that a dove might descend. There are two other images of the Holy Spirit in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles. Luke says that all who gathered in one room heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven; he goes on to say that something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire. Just as the evangelists do not portray an actual dove at the baptism of Jesus, Luke does not say that the wind and fire at Pentecost were tangible phenomena. The Holy Spirit is impossible to visualise, because the Spirit cannot be seen as such. Yet the Holy Spirit is profoundly real.

Many things in our universe are real even though invisible to the naked eye. What we see with our eyes is only a fraction of our physical world. The Holy Spirit belongs to the spiritual world, and it naturally cannot see the Spirit with our eyes. Yet, there are helpful ways of imagining the Holy Spirit. St Paul uses an image drawn nature when he says that the Spirit bears fruit. He means the visible effect of the Spirit on one’s life. We may not be able to see the Holy Spirit, but we can see the effect of the Spirit in our life, just as we cannot see the wind but can see the effect of the wind on people and objects of various kinds. Paul is saying that wherever we find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control, the Spirit is there at work. The Spirit becomes visible in and through these qualities and virtues. The person who most of all had those qualities was Jesus because he was full of the Holy Spirit, full of the life of God. The Holy Spirit is essentially the very life of God, and that life is a life of love. It is that divine life, that divine love, which was poured out at Pentecost, initially on the first disciples but through them on all who were open to receive this powerful and wonderful gift. Paul expresses it simply in his letter to the Romans, ‘God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us’. It is that Spirit of God’s love we have received who bears the rich fruit in our lives that Paul speaks about in today’s 2nd Reading. The Spirit is constantly at work in our lives, making us more like Jesus. The ordinary, day to day expressions of goodness and kindness, of faithfulness and self-control, of patience and gentleness, are all manifestations of the Spirit that has been given to us by God. We can recognize the Spirit’s presence in the common happenings of everyday life. The spiritual is not something other-worldly; it is humanity at its best.

Humanity is at its best in today’s first reading. Pentecost brought about a wonderful bonding of people from all over the Roman Empire. They were united in admiring and praising the marvels of God. In spite of differences of language and culture there was a real communion among them. Wherever communion of heart and mind exist among people of different backgrounds, the Holy Spirit is at work. Unity in diversity is the mark of the Spirit. Jesus points out another manifestation of the Spirit: the pursuit of truth. Only the Spirit can lead us to the complete truth. If someone is genuinely seeking for truth, and willing to engage in good works with others, there the Spirit is at work. Fullness of truth and love is always beyond us; but the Spirit is given to lead us towards the complete truth and love, in all its height and depth.


7 Responses

  1. Kevin Walters

    At Pentecost, The Spirit of God inspires the Apostles and sends them on their mission; while all the Baptized are asked to do the same. As those who receive the Holy Spirit are also empowered to give witness to Jesus Christ in the world, while He the Holy Spirit sanctifies our hearts in creating a dwelling place for Himself (The Divine Presence) to reside within us.

    After the Crucifixion in the Upper Room, we see those who had traveled the road of enlightenment/self-realization with Jesus (The Word Made Flesh) hide in fear of the Jewish leadership, while now knowing the full reality of their brokenness (Betrayal and cowardice) before our Father in heaven. It could be said that their hearts were now readied to receive The Holy Spirit as a humble heart is His dwelling place, as in

    “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid”.

    Prior to Pentecost, we see Man’s understanding of the righteousness of God manifest by Prophets, such as in Elijah’s murderous blood bath of the vile prophets of Baal, with all their wives and innocent children. He then hides in fear because “I have been very zealous (Ruthless) for the Lord”. Similar to St Paul’s zealous murderous persecution of Christians, while James and his brother John wanted to call down fire on a Samaritan town; they were rebuked by Jesus. Prior to this rebuke, Jesus called James and John, Boanerges, which meant “sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17) – probably a reference to the positive side of their bold and zealous personalities.

    A Personal understanding of 1 Kings 19:11-12
    A wind there was (of Pride), rude and boisterous, that shook the mountains (Heavens) and broke the rocks (Holy precepts) in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not to be found in the wind (of my bluster). Nor in the storm (High expectations of life) and earthquake (Of self-made foundations/delusions) leading to the Fire (of suffering/Reality of the selfhood) and after the fire, the whisper of a gentle (Uplifting) breeze.

    For men of good intent on the Worldly plain it is natural to want to prevail over evil (especially in others) to call to account and punish those who do evil, this desire comes from a worldly feeling of self-righteousness but as seen by Elijah’s inspired self-realization, God is known through His gentleness, as in a gentle breeze.

    Jesus says “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart”.

    So, the battle has to be fought on the Spiritual Plane if it is to bear lasting fruit, we do this when we walk with the Holy Spirit in humility. (St Bernard, Humility; a virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases him-self).

    At Pentecost, we see the Holy Spirit descend and then separate onto the Apostles conferring within them (and now to those who serve Him) the power of Truth. The Truth bears witness to Itself and needs no embellishment, as those who are of the Truth hear His voice. It could be said that authority comes with Truth and those who serve It. (As manifest in a humble heart).

    The Lord was not to be found in the wind nor in the storm.

    So, mankind needs to see the light of the Holy Spirit dwelling/working within us, as only a humble Priesthood/Church can lead mankind away from evil, as a humble heart (Church) will never cover its tracks or hide its shortcomings, and in doing so confers authenticity (Holiness), as it walks in its own vulnerability/weakness/brokenness in trust/faith before God and mankind. It is a heart (Church) to be trusted, as it ‘dispels’ darkness within its own ego/self, in serving God (Truth/Love) first, before any other as the Holy Spirit (Divine Presence) cannot dwell in an untruthful heart as “The Truth” will not permit evil to hide itself. We are ALL sinners, but being honest with ourselves and others permits us to walk in humility (friendship) with the Holy Spirit, where no deception or lie is tolerated within ourselves or between each other.

    Jesus reveals that the Holy Spirit will “convince the ‘unbelieving’ world of sin, and of justice and of judgment;” he will “teach…all truth;” and will “glorify” Christ.

    Words of condemnation have their place, but it is the whisper of a gentle breeze’ bearing witness to the Truth, in a humble heart, which glorifies God as it permits others to see and believe in His merciful gentle ‘living’ Face/heart, which leads others to contemplate/know/follow Him in humility also.

    “Father forgive them they know not what they do”.
    Here we see His understanding of the human heart and the compassion that He had for all of mankind. Reflected in Isaiah 42:3 “He won’t break off a bent reed or put out a dying flame, but he will make sure that justice is done”.

    There is no self-righteous anger, rather a call for mercy and insightfulness for all those sinners who dwell in darkness. Which was manifest in His total self-giving on the Cross, for all men.
    As with the Centurion who stood facing Him as He hung on the Cross.

    “The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them, a light has dawned”.

    The divine spark had been ignited within the Centurion, a new understanding had commenced as he exclaimed:

    “This man was indeed God’s Son.”

    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  2. Joe O'Leary

    ‘He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?…” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!… So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone…. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath”…. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army’ (Ezekiel 37:3-4, 7-10).

    The last we saw of the early Christians they were shattered, scattered, but now, the Spirit moves, and they rise up a vast army, as the Church is born. And Pentecost is not a one-off event. There have been multiple Pentecosts throughout the Church history. St John Henry Newman called them ‘effusions’ of the Holy Spirit.

    Newman refers in his Apologia to ‘the theory of church history which I had learned as a boy from Joseph Milner. It is Milner’s doctrine, that upon the visible Church come down from above, from time to time, large and temporary Effusions of divine grace. This is the leading idea of his work. He begins by speaking of the Day of Pentecost, as marking “the first of those Effusions of the Spirit of God, which from age to age have visited the earth since the coming of Christ.”’ Newman draws the bold conclusion that “as miracles accompanied the first effusion of grace, so they might accompany the later…. There have been generations or centuries of degeneracy or disorder, and times of revival, and as one region might be in the mid-day of religious fervour, and another in twilight or gloom, there was no force in the popular argument, that, because we did not see miracles with our own eyes, miracles had not happened in former times, or were not now at this very time taking place in distant places.”

    He also refers to Effusions in his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine: ‘It is true, there have been seasons when, from the operation of external or internal causes, the Church has been thrown into what was almost a state of deliquium; but her wonderful revivals, while the world was triumphing over her, is a further evidence of the absence of corruption in the system of doctrine and worship into which she has developed. If corruption be an incipient disorganisation, surely an abrupt and absolute recurrence to the former state of vigour, after an interval, is even less conceivable than a corruption that is permanent. Now this is the case with the revivals I speak of. After violent exertion men are exhausted and fall asleep; they awake the same as before, refreshed by the temporary cessation of their activity; and such has been the slumber and such the restoration of the Church. She pauses in her course, and almost suspends her functions; she rises again, and she is herself once more; all things are in their place and ready for action. Doctrine is where it was, and usage, and precedence, and principle, and policy; there may be changes, but they are consolidations or adaptations; all is unequivocal and determinate, with an identity which there is no disputing.’

    Newman could speak with confidence of such renewals since he was the central figure in one, the Oxford Movement, which gave a powerful boost to Anglicanism. There were such movements among Methodists and Evangelicals that he regrettably viewed askance. On the wider stage, the Catholic worlds had known huge revivals, such as the Counter-Reformation, and the churches of the Reformation had been blessed with many great awakenings.

    There was a huge Devotional Revolution in Ireland in the latter half of the 19th century, and the Irish church lived off it for a century. Similar outpourings of the Spirit in recent years include Vatican II, which unalterably changed the landscape of the Church putting an end to the long Constantinian era, as well as the Charismatic Movement, Liberation Theology and similar movements. Intrachristian and Interreligious Ecumenism could well generate another such renewal. The devotionalism of some younger clergy and young folk, in the wake of Medjgorje and Fatima before it, could also be such a force, though threatened by ‘culture war’ attitudes. On another plane the amazing openness to and acceptance of one another that we see in the way lesbians, gays, trans, and people who are different in one way or another are integrated into a more varied community could be a platform of church renewal.

    Of course we do not make enough of these times of grace when they are in full swing. All too often what begins in the Spirit, ends in the flesh (cf. Galatians 3:3). Lost opportunies are more abundant than realized promise. But the Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, is an inexhaustible source of renewal. Let’s be ready to ‘step up to the plate’ (Cardinal Pell). Let’s put our energies and activities at the disposal of the Spirit, confidently expecting great things to come of that.

  3. Thara Benedicta

    Key Message:
    The Holy Spirit is our God ministering to us all the time!!!

    Takeaway from First Reading:
    In the first reading, we see that the Apostles prayed together in unity. Actually, all over the book of Acts, we read that the people came together and prayed. When we are united with each other, it makes God very happy. Jesus appreciates the ‘oneness of mind’ in scriptures. He has promised to join us when we are united in His name. “Where two or three gather together in My name, there am I with them.” Mathew 18:20.

    Takeaway from Second Reading:
    The gifts of the Holy Spirit is endowed depending on the ministry we have been assigned with. All of us have the gift of Faith. When we have the healing ministry assigned to us, then we will have the gift of healing. When we have the intercession ministry assigned to us, then we will have gift of tongues and the gift of interpretation of tongues.

    Jesus will provide us with the gifts according to the ministry assigned to us.

    Takeaway from Gospel Reading:

    The Holy Spirit in the life of our Lord Jesus:

    Let us analyse how the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to accomplish the purpose of His life:
    1. The Lord Jesus began His ministry, only after the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
    2. He stayed with His parents for 30 years and was obedient to them. He waited for Baptism of the Holy Spirit before beginning His ministry
    3. The first message of Jesus was also on the Holy Spirit. “The spirit of the Lord is upon me…”
    4. Acts 10:38 says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”

    This scripture also reiterates the fact that our dear Jesus, being Son of God, required the Holy Spirit to complete His tasks on earth.

    If Jesus required the Holy Spirit to complete His tasks, how much more will we require?

    The Holy Spirit in the life of Apostles:

    Let us analyse how the Holy Spirit empowered Apostles in their ministry:
    1. Jesus asked the apostles to wait for Holy Spirit before beginning their ministry.
    2. When the Apostles were praising God together in oneness of Spirit, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
    3. Immediately they began their ministry with full power.

    The Holy Spirit in our lives:

    Jesus says in John 16:7 – “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you”.

    “It’s good for you that I go away”. Isn’t it a surprising statement? Is there something better than being with our Lord Jesus?

    Our dear Jesus knows that we will need Him always. In order to take care of us and guide us, He is present with us as the Holy Spirit. Instead of preaching ‘sermon on the mount’, now He is preaching to us individually. It is a wonder for us, how Almighty God is teaching each one of us.

    We readily agree to the fact that by the blood of Jesus our sins are washed and we can reach Heaven. But most of us have some personal queries related to the Holy Spirit. I have ‘captured’ a few of them and explained them.

    Question 1:
    Generally, people have a doubt – “Though I want to be good, I commit sins. Even then will the Holy Spirit reside in me?”

    Answer from the Bible:
    In John 20:19-22,
    “19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and……….22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

    The apostles received the Holy Spirit from the breath of Jesus. But they were not able to talk in tongues like they were able to do on Pentecost day. Here they have received the Holy Spirit but were not completely filled with the Holy Spirit as on the day of Pentecost. When they were completely filled with the Holy Spirit, they received the gifts of the Holy Spirit and were able to talk in tongues and do mighty works.

    Similarly, when we believe in the death and resurrection of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, we too will receive the Holy Spirit. We will have the Holy Spirit residing in us. We will be able to clearly listen to His little guiding voice in all our works. It is too precious to miss.
    But when we are completely filled with the Holy Spirit, we will enjoy the gifts of the Holy Spirit and perform mighty works.

    Jesus gladly breathed the Holy Spirit to the Apostle Peter, who had also denied Him. Jesus did not remember the sin of Peter, but He remembered the faith of Peter. So no need to worry whenever we commit a sin. As the Bible says, the Holy Spirit will convict us of our sin (will reveal our sins to us, so that we repent and change our ways) but He will not condemn us.

    The life of Jesus and the lives of the apostles, were radically changed when they were completely filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Question 2:
    “Why am I not able to hear the little voice of the Holy Spirit?”

    Answer from the Bible:
    Proverbs 3:6 says: “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”
    Our heart should have the right intent of pleasing God in whatever we think, speak and do. Then God will direct our paths. This is the only requirement for us to hear from the Holy Spirit. In all our doings, our basic intention should be to work according to God’s will. This will enable us to clearly listen to the silent but clear voice of the Holy Spirit.

    Question 3:
    “What is the qualification required for possessing the Gifts of the Holy Spirit?”

    Answer from the Bible:
    1. Thirst for the Holy Spirit:
    We need to have an inner longing for the Holy Spirit. God desires a longing heart.
    Isaiah 44:3:
    “For I will pour water on the thirsty land…. I will pour out my spirit on your offspring..”

    2. Humility:
    God says that He resides with one who has a contrite and a humble heart.
    Isaiah 57:15
    “I dwell in the high and holy place with him who has a contrite and humble spirit.”

    Question 4:
    “What should I do to receive the GIFTs of the Holy Spirit?”

    Answer from the Bible:
    Ask and you shall receive!!!
    Luke 11:9-13:
    “.. Ask and it will be given to you .. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

    As an example, Elisha pleaded to His master Elijah, “Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me” – II Kings 2:9”. Elisha got the double portion!!!

    As God’s children, all we need to do is to “Ask and receive the Holy Spirit”.

    If we lead a sinful life, we will regret it when our time is over on earth.
    If we do not lead a fruitful life, we will regret it when we land in heaven.
    Let us ask and receive the Holy Spirit to make our lives fruitful on earth.

  4. Kevin Walters

    Pentecost Sunday an addendum to my post above.
    We can look to the workings of the Holy Spirit in St Mother Teresa as a modern-day example of Christian Charity in the way she spread the Gospel through works of charity and her confrontation with a fallen sinful world. In her confrontation with the promotors of abortion (The Clintons), it was not in a ranting emotional bluster, driven by self-righteous indignation.
    An extract from the article given via the link below, the parts highlighted in italics text emanate from a gentle humble (Loving) heart, which is what my post above is all about.

    “This was not the end of the relationship, which Hillary has always looked back upon with fondness. In the short time she had left on earth, Mother Teresa continued to try to change Clinton’s view on abortion. According to Hillary, “she sent me dozens of notes and messages with the same gentle entreaty. She dealt with the first lady with patience and kindness, but firm conviction: “Mother Teresa never lectured or scolded me; her admonitions were always loving and heartfelt,” wrote Hillary, adding that she had “the greatest respect for her opposition to abortion.” Mother Teresa saw in Hillary a potentially huge convert to the pro-life cause, and never gave up, but to no avail”

    I take umbrage with the statement to no avail as only God knows the full long-term effects that her firm conviction and the persistent actions of Mother Teresa will have had on Hilary Clinton and those around her, as those who walk with Holy Spirit, produce good fruit, the seeds of which are often sown unseen within human hearts, at the time of their encounter with Him.

    Mother Teresa will have known this and trusted in the workings of the Holy Spirit knowing that all enlightenment comes from God and because of this she would not have been driven to distraction or bitterness as the peace that He gives to His true Disciples, cannot be taken from them.

    It could be said that these actions by Mother Teresa spring from “a gentle breeze” living ( Dwelling) within her loving humble heart.

    “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”– Mother Teresa

    Father! with tongue and flame give us unity again.


    kevin your brother
    In Christ

  5. Paddy Ferry

    Pentecost. I have not had time to read all of Kevin, Joe and Thara’s posts above but, hopefully, I will if they stay somewhere in archive. I don’t know if that facility exists on our ACP site. Still, not to worry.

    However, from my reading, the gospels suggest that none of the twelve were present on Calvary. Did they flee fearing that they too might be crucified?
    However, the Marys and other women were present.They remained loyal and true or,perhaps, there were just not afraid.

    Fifty days later at Pentecost Acts 2:1-11 records a reconstituted group of the twelve for this event but only only one woman, Mary the mother of Jesus, is mentioned. It is now thought unlikely that the twelve, apart from Peter, actually did return as we never hear of them again. (Probably accounts for Raymond Brown, in Priest and Bishop, being so scathing about the idea of Apostolic Succession and, more of less, saying that Paul was the only apostle worth his salt).

    Does the reappearance of the twelve arise from Luke’s need to create a solid apostolic foundation for Peter and Paul and the nascent church and, also, to delete the real women apostles from the picture altogether?

  6. Joe O'Leary

    For Irenaeus and Tertullian, as gnostic sects swirled about, apostolic succession became a structure by which the church stands or falls (along with the Canon of Scripture and the Rule of Faith in its variant forms, later consolidated as Creeds).

    Tertullian: ‘Come now, if you are ready to exercise your curiosity better in the business of your own salvation, run through the apostolic churches, where the very thrones of the apostles preside to this day over their districts, where the authentic letters of the apostles are still recited, bringing the voice and face of each one of them to mind. If Achaea is nearest to you, you have Corinth. If you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi and Thessalonica. If you can go to Asia, you have Ephesus. If you are close to Italy, you have Rome, the nearest authority for us also. How fortunate is that church upon which the apostles poured their whole teaching together with their blood, where Peter suffered like his Lord, where Paul was crowned with John [the Baptist]’s death, where the apostle John, after he had been immersed in boiling oil without harm, was banished to an island.’

    Tertullian cannot positively assert that his own church of Carthage was founded from Rome, but can it be positively denied either? What of Mark founding Alexandria, or of Thomas founding the Indian church? The Apostolic founders need not have been the 12 (and the most documented founder of all was Paul, not one of the 12). The 12 are above all witnesses of the Resurrection, not only in Luke, but i 1 Corinthians 15.

  7. Joe O'Leary

    There is a lot of lore about apostolic foundations: St James for Spain, Sts Bartholomew and Thaddaeus for Armenia, Denys the Areopagite first bishop of Athens. The theory of Walter Bauer (1934) that Christianity did not begin as a unified doctrinal phalanx under apostolic authority but as a variety of divergent groups might be true, but there would still have been enough apostolic input for the Great Church to stylize and unify its authority structure under the rubric of apostolic succession.