On Gamaliel And The One True Church
When the Apostles first began publicly to preach the religion of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, great indignation was stirred up among the Jews that rejected Christ. The Apostles were arrested and brought before the High Priest of the Temple for examination and trial. While the Jewish tribunal was considering putting them to death, one of the council rose up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a doctor of Law and much respected by all the people, and commanded the Apostles to be put forth, and then said wisely to their judges:
“Fellow Israelites, be careful what you are about to do to these men. Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important, and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed, and all those who were loyal to him were disbanded and came to nothing. After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census. He also drew people after him, but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered. So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God” Acts 5: 35-39
Almost nineteen-hundred years have rolled by since these words were spoken. Gamaliel has long been dead and gone, preaching of the Apostles has echoed down the centuries with an ever increasing force and effectiveness. The tiny group of disciples that constitute the Catholic Church in those early days in Jerusalem has so spread the and increased that it now forms a vast organization that covers the entire earth and numbers over 324 million members. Time after time hostile powers have thrown obstacles in the way of the way of its development. Persecutions almost without number have been hurled against it, with no avail. Christ has remained true to His promise ever to be with the Church, and as it has in the past, so it will be in the future until the end of time. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Gamaliel, the Catholic Church has proved itself the work of God. From Father John P. Markoe, S.J.’s book “The Triumph of the Church” CATHOLICS: Member s of the Catholic Church, the one and only Church claiming to be Christian that dates back to Jesus Christ, its founder. Every other Christian denomination in existence has a human founder and is of a more recent date. Jesus Christ was born at Bethlehem about 1900 year s ago. His birth and subsequent life conformed exactly to the prophecies uttered hundreds of years before His time concerning the promised Messiah and Redeemer of the human race. He himself claimed to be this promised Redeemer, and proved His claim by the beauty of His life and character, the sublimity of His doctrine, His many wonderful miracles and prophecies, and finally by His glorious and triumphant resurrection from the grave. To perpetuate His mission on earth as the Savior of Mankind, He established a Church which He commissioned to carry on His work until the end of time. To act as His personal representative, He appointed Peter the visible head of this Church. “Thou art Peter”, said Christ in the organization of His Church, “and upon this rock” (Peter means rock) “I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon ear th, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on ear th, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” (Matt. 16/18-19). Afterward, when He had built His Church, Jesus said again to Peter: “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep” (John 21/15-17). Jesus loved to call Himself the Good Shepherd, and to refer to His Church as His flock. By charging Peter to feed His lambs and sheep, that is, His whole flock, He appointed Peter the supreme visible head of His whole Church. After much laboring and preaching and going about doing good, Jesus was condemned to death on account of His assertion ”I am the Son of God” (Matt. 27/43). On the third day after His death He rose gloriously from the dead, and spent forty days on earth consoling and instructing His chosen Apostles. Shortly before He ascended into heaven, He gathered the whole band around him and charged them as follows: “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” ( Matt. 28/18-20). The Apostles, under the divinely conferred authority of Peter, set about carrying out the instructions of their Divine Master, and thus launched the Catholic Church on its triumphal march down through the centuries. Hundreds of Popes have succeeded Peter, as the visible head of the Church, in an unbroken line of continuity from Christ down to the present reigning Pontiff. And the Bishops of the Catholic Church, as the successors of the Apostles, are still, under the authority of the Holy Father, carrying out Christ’s command to “go teach all nations”. Were the Catholic Church a man-made system, it would have gone the way of all man-made kingdoms and empires which have come and gone, whereas it has serenely kept going with a humanly inexplicable vitality.