One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic


at mass on Sunday when we pray the Creed

we say I believe in one Holy Catholic

and Apostolic Church what does that mean

these are known as the full marks of the

Catholic Church and can be traced back

to early Christian times let's take a

look at them one at a time and explore

what they mean for you what does it mean

that the church is one well Jesus only

started one church he didn't start five

or ten or a hundred when we talk about

oneness of the church we're talking

about the unity of God's people God

wanted us to be one the church is often

referred to as the body of Christ and

Paul speaks about this beautifully in

1st Corinthians chapter 12 he speaks

about how we're all given different

gifts but these gifts are given to us

not for our own gratification but for

the common good for the whole church for

the whole body of Christ and he speaks

about how we're all part of this one

body but how each part plays a unique

and vital role so what are your gifts

and how is God calling you to use those

gifts for the common good what unique

and vital role is God calling you to

play in the church God's vision for the

church is that all men and women be

united in belief agape love and mission

you want just United and believe he

wants us United in a gap a love and he

wants us united in mission God's vision

for the church is that we be one this is

what jesus prayed for right before he

was arrested and crucified he prays with

his disciples and he prayed for you and

me we read about this in chapter 17 of

john's gospel

it's a beautiful prayer for unity but

jesus also explains why he is praying

for unity in verse 13 he prays his

reason he prays so that they may have my

joy made complete in themselves he wants

our joy to be complete he wants your joy

to be complete and that's a beautiful

thing then he prays to God the Father he

says I asked not only on behalf of these

but also on behalf of those who will

believe in me through their word that

they may be one let's take one more look

at that Jesus praise I asked not only on

behalf of these who's he talked about

the disciples but also on behalf of

those who will believe in me through

their word who's he talking about there

he's talking about you and me says that

they may be one he wants there to be

unity among every Christian from the

first disciples to the last believer at

the end of the world this is one of the

most beautiful passages in the Bible and

perhaps the greatest prayer in the New

Testament it is God praying to God Jesus

ask the Father to give each of us

perseverance holiness joy and unity over

the centuries the oneness of the church

has been attacked questioned and

undermined as a result Christianity is

massively divided today but the Catholic

Church remains one it's the one church

that Jesus started people sometimes ask

me why should I stay in the Catholic

Church there are lots of reasons why you

should stay Catholic and grow in your

face every day but what's more

compelling than to say you should stay

because Jesus prayed you would there in

the Garden of Gethsemane two thousand

years ago Jesus saw every person who

would ever think about leaving his

church and he prayed that they would

stay and that they would remain one the

church is one

this is the first month second mark is

the church is holy what does it mean

that the church is holy one definition

of the word holy is set apart for a

special purpose by God and for God when

we speak about the church being holy it

doesn't imply that all the members of

the church are free from sin and

selfishness this is a common

misconception the holiness of the church

is not derived from the holiness of its

members but rather from the holiness of

Jesus God created the church for a

reason so what is the purpose of the

church Jesus founded his church to

continue his redemptive and sanctifying

work in the world you might be wondering

what this means well Jesus is redemptive

work liberates us from sin puts us back

in right relationship with God and leads

us to heaven

his sanctifying work helps us to grow in

holiness and become the best version of

ourselves by playing the unique role

that he calls us to play in His divine

plan the church is holy because Christ

is holy this is the second mark the

third mark is Catholic not Big Sea

Catholic but little sea Catholic what

does it mean that the church is Catholic

the word Catholic with a small C means

universal in this sense the church is

for everyone just as Jesus died and rose

from the dead for everyone

Church is for everyone the church is

also Catholic or Universal in the sense

that she has been sent out by Jesus on a

mission for everyone in the human race

this small sea Catholic is what we're

speaking of in the Creed and the third

mark of the church

when we speak of someone being Catholic

with a big city we're speaking of a

baptized Christian who accepts and

believes the teachings of the Catholic

Church strive to live in communion with

the church through the sacraments and

her teachings and embraces the life that

Jesus calls into we're all called to

Catholic unity as children of God but

not everyone responds to the call the

call is small see Catholic the response

is big see Castle the fourth and final

mark of the church is apostolic what

does it mean that the Catholic Church

isn't apostolic this is one of the great

questions of Christian history if you

can develop a clear understanding of

this a lot of the other things will just

fall into place let's turn to the

scriptures for some insight Jesus was

walking down the road one day talking to

his disciples answering questions and

asking questions any time you were

reading the Bible and God asked the

question you better sit up and take

notice you're about to learn something

two questions he asked these disciples

was question number one who do people

say that I am the disciples said well

some say you're John the Baptist come

back from the dead and others say you're

Elijah and I will say you one of the

great prophets then Jesus turned them

and he said who do you say that I am

even as you read in the script you know

you can also get the sense that this was

an awkward moment in other ciphers are

looking at each other it's a trick


you take this one Peter you know that

Peter steps up and he says you're the

Christ you're the son of a Living God

what seemed like a very spontaneous

conversation then turned into something

very formal when Jesus said you are

Peter and on this rock I will build my

church Jesus goes on to say I will give

you the keys to the kingdom of heaven

and whatever you bind on earth will be

bound in heaven and whatever you loose

on earth will be loosed in heaven Jesus

gave Peter the authority to leave the

church and through Peter we get the

other apostles authority as Catholics we

can trace a direct line from your Bishop

back 2,000 years to Peter

Pope Francis is the 260 fifth successor

of Peter this is what we mean when we

say the church is apostolic the Apostles

were the foundation that Jesus chose to

build his church upon and we respect

that they were the witnesses who Jesus

chose to send out on a mission to the

whole world the church celebrates and

defends the teachings passed on by the

Apostles continues to be guided by the

Apostles and carries on the mission that

was entrusted first to the Apostles your

Bishop is a successor to the original

apostles that's profound and beautiful

so a Mass next Sunday you probably hear

some people mindlessly mumbling the

Creed don't be one of them say it loud

and proud I believe in one Holy Catholic

and Apostolic Church