1 Corinthians 9:1-2
The Apostles of Today…
Evidently, there were some questions about Paul’s rights and authority as an apostle:
“Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? Although I may not be an apostle for others, certainly I am for you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.” -1 Corinthians 9:1-2, NAB
We now look back at Paul as one of the most influential people in the history of the Church, but he did not always have it so easy during his lifetime. His authority as an apostle seemed to be in question. Today, we see the same thing happening when people choose to question the authority of our bishops, including the Bishop of Rome, as the successors of the apostles. Similar to Paul’s situation, there are those who do not fall under the authority of our bishops, primarily by choice. Whether they belong to another denomination or they are simply not Christian, there are those who the bishops’ authority does not apply, but it does for us as Catholics. We do not get to choose our bishops; they are chosen for us, and we have no right to question the authority given to them. Will they make mistakes? Yes. Are they sinners too? Yes. But even if they stumble or make mistakes, we must lift them up as brothers in Christ, not simply turn our backs and criticize them for every wrong.
As a recent convert to the Catholic faith, one of the beauties that I have found in the Catholic Church is the succession of the apostles through our bishops. When we look at our bishops, we are seeing Peter, Paul, Thomas, James, John, and the rest of the apostles of Christ. Let us show the same reverence for our apostles today as we do for the apostles of yesterday.