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Third Sunday of the Apostles

The Third Sunday of the Apostles

Basilica Hymn
The Lord is King, let the peoples tremble
From an unmerciful people
There they feared greatly
The doors were shut where the disciples were, and the glory of the Lord shone upon them
O Lord, when the assembly of apostles was hidden, on account of fear and trembling from the Jews, from heaven the gift of the Holy Spirit descended upon them together. And in the four corners, they became preachers of your divinity and your humanity, and converted the whole creation from error, by the great power of the Paraclete; and we also, who take refuge in your grace, glorify you!

Objectivity

A large part of human life is a matter of opinion, as are many of our choices. The color of a new car, or what type of food to eat, and a multitude of such things are within the scope of taste and preference. But there are certain things that are outside of our choosing, and are true without needing our permission. Whether we like it or not, heavy things fall when we drop them. We can call this reality whatever we like (“gravity,” for example), but the fact remains that it is a reality. No matter what our opinion or our preference, the fact is a fact, the truth is the truth.

Some truths are crystal clear, but others are the product of reflection and are not immediately perceptible to everyone, for many reasons. But that does not make them any less true. That a human being is best defined as a “rational animal” is either true or it is not; it may be a matter of debate, but it is not a matter of taste. The deepest truths can be the ones most difficultly arrived at, but they are the most important ones for the meaning of our lives.

The Light of the World 

It is wrong to think that the most theoretical truths have the least practical application. It is not irrelevant, as some think, whether a human being is thought of as the image of God or as a mere collection of molecules. In fact, nothing could possibly have a more dramatic bearing on how we live on a daily basis. Equally relevant, even on a practical level, is how we think of God. Is he a loving Father who leads us gently to himself, who gave us his Son and his Holy Spirit, or is he a tyrant who commands us arbitrarily and looks forward to punishing us, or an angry figure who asks us to destroy those who do not believe in him, or does he not exist at all? The answer to this question will have an enormous say in every act of our lives, and in every choice we make.

That is why the question of faith is not a matter of opinion, because there is a truth – either there is a God or there is not; either we can know him or we cannot; either he cares about us or he does not. Again, though there is certainly room for debate, there is no room for preference or taste. Someone is right and someone else is wrong. This is why the Gospels do not speak of the message of Christ as “another opinion” or as a “good suggestion,” but rather as “the light of the world.” It is not even a matter of something “a little better,” but of “light and darkness” or “black and white.” The Gospel is a truth so deep and so drastic that it makes all the difference in the world.

The Basilica Hymn for the Fourth Sunday of the Apostles speaks of the apostles, after having been given the gift of the Holy Spirit, converting the whole world from error. Things were wrong, the mind of all mankind was convinced of a lie, and through the Holy Spirit, the world was made right and our minds were given the light of the Truth, who is the Person of Jesus Christ, who is True God and True Man:

O Lord, when the assembly of apostles was hidden, on account of fear and trembling from the Jews, from heaven the gift of the Holy Spirit descended upon them together. And in the four corners, they became preachers of your divinity and your humanity, and converted the whole creation from error, by the great power of the Paraclete; and we also, who take refuge in your grace, glorify you!