ONLY THE NAME OF JESUS SHALL SAVE YOU|4th Sunday of Easter Yr. B|Vocation Sunday

If you are one of those saying 'church is in heart' and for that reason you don't worship in church this message concerns you just as it concerns those who are obsessed about their 'pastors' or particular 'man of God', and those who feel they are already 'saved' because of the Church they belong to. On this day the Word of God touches on these issues. If you want to know more read slowly...

Acts 4:8-12

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter said: ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all...that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. 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.”

POINTS FOR REFLECTION

1. The last line of Peter's defence is a classic statement of the gospel: there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:8). This is a strong statement of total dedication to Jesus giving no room for pluralism, other churches or other faiths. And so we ask: how do we come to understand this statement in the world today characterised by the reality of many churches, and other religions? We turn to the gospel of today (Jn 10:11-18to hear what Jesus have to say:
I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. (Jn 10:16)

2. From this statement of Christ we come to understand that there is the possibility of 'the other fold' whom  HE MUST BRING into the ONE FOLD so that at the end there will be one flock, one shepherd. This 'other fold' could be understood as those of other faiths or religious paths. It could also  refer to the multiple assemblies (churches) of christ's faithful. 

From this viewpoint it would not only be wrong but scandalous that Christians fight and quarrel over Churches and pastors: which church is better, or holier. And it will be more outrageous when these litigations lead to further divisions and plurality of assemblies. There is only ONE church of Christ and that subsists in the catholic church (Lumen Gentium 8, C. 204§2). And so those who say 'church is in the heart' in order to justify non-involvement in any worshipping assembly, are not only wrong but confused. If you call yourself a christian you necessary must belong to the ONE fold of Christ, otherwise you are in 'the other fold' or nowhere!

3. Child of God no pastor, preacher or church denomination can save you except Jesus. Since salvation is sure only when we belong to the ONE fold of Christ it is our duty to foster unity especially among Christians and make ourselves available missionaries of Jesus the Good shepherd to bring those in 'the other fold' into the ONE flock of Christ. Shalom and God bless you.

TASK: Today people easily say their religious affiliations but don't want to be identified with it: I am a christian is different from living like a christian. A christian is first a missionary witness to the resurrected Jesus. Live out your identity today. Pray psalm 133 now. Shalom.

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