Yesterday, we learned about how God sent us Jesus Christ, His Own Beloved Son, to save us from the punishment of sin, which was death, by dying on the Cross. But that was not the end of God’s story. Today, on this fourth day, we will learn about the victory of Jesus and the family He created, which is the Church.
Come O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
+ Amen +
Out of His merciful love for us, Jesus Christ died on Good Friday to save us from the punishment of sin, which was death.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus took down the body of Our Saviour. Along with Mary His mother, Mary Magdalen and a few others, they buried Jesus’ body in a tomb.
The tomb was sealed with a massive stone and the Jewish authorities also sent a group of soldiers to guard the tomb.
Three days later, an extraordinary event occurred. Mary Magdalen and her companion went to visit the tomb of Jesus. Then, an earthquake struck and an angel, whose appearance was like lighting, came down from Heaven and rolled away the stone. The guards were so terrified that they fainted.
The angel told the woman not be afraid and to come see the tomb. And they saw that the tomb was empty! And the angel said that Jesus was no longer there for He had risen from the dead and was going to meet them.
And Jesus appeared to His beloved disciples, in power and great glory, and proved that He had died but was raised again. This all happened on Easter Sunday.
By resurrecting from the dead, Jesus proved that He really was God, that everything He said when He was on Earth was true, that He truly did love us, and that He had saved us from our sins. Jesus also said to His Apostles:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.
Forty days after His Resurrection, on Ascension Thursday, Jesus went to a mountain with His disciples. There He ascended into Heaven and sat at the right hand of power of God the Father.
Fifty days after His Resurrection, on Pentecost Sunday, Jesus sent down the Holy Spirit to His disciples.
This group of disciples, this family of Jesus, is called the Church. As faithful Catholics, we are also part of the Church.
The Catholic Church
From the moment Christ came into the world and called His disciples, He created the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Church is the family of all baptized Catholics who share the same faith and follow the Pope.
The mission of the Church is to help everyone learn the truth and come to salvation.
God has revealed to us the truth through the Bible and Tradition.
- The Bible is God’s words written in the form of several books. We should read the Bible and especially the Gospels to learn more about Jesus Christ.
- Tradition is God’s words that are not written down in a book, but taught to us by the Church.
To be saved, we must belong to the Catholic Church. This means we must be baptized, profess the one Catholic faith, follow all of her doctrines and follow the Pope.
For those who are not part of the Church, if it is not their fault, they can still be saved if they love God and try to do His will. By doing so, they are connected to the Church by desire.
The Church accomplishes her mission by the help of the Holy Spirit Who will remain with us forever.
The teachers of the Church are the Apostles and St. Peter, who is the head of the Apostles. The successor to the Apostles are the Bishops and the successor to St. Peter is the Pope. And to help care for us, the bishops have assistants called priests.
Connected to one another
The Church is made of the saints who are in Heaven, the souls in purgatory and we who are still living on earth. And as members of the Church, we are all connected to Christ and to each other because we are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ.
Imagine the Church were a human body. Christ is our head and we are His body. This is what we mean by the Mystical Body of Christ.
The saints are friends of God who have died and who are in Heaven. Because we are all members of the Mystical Body of Christ, the saints know of our pains and pray for us.
The Souls in Purgatory
The souls in purgatory are those who have died, who have been saved by God, but who must undergo purification before entering Heaven. Their purification process is very painful and can last for a very long time. Because we all are members of the Mystical Body of Christ, we can reduce the sufferings of the souls in purgatory by prayer, fasting, good works, offering Masses and gaining indulgences.
For us who are still living on Earth, by the Holy Spirit and the Church, we can all help each other grow in holiness. But, for that to happen, we need grace. We will learn learn about grace tomorrow.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is meant by One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic? One means all the members of the Church are together as one family. Holy means that the Church was created by God. Catholic (meaning “universal”) means the Church is meant for all people. Apostolic means the Church descends from the Apostles.
- Why did God create purgatory? God created purgatory because only perfectly pure people are able to see God in Heaven. For those who are destined for Heaven but who are not yet perfectly pure, purgatory is a place that purifies them.
- Why is purgatory so painful? Purgatory is painful for two reasons. The first reason is because we love God so much and miss Him so much that it hurts. The second reason is because every sin we committed in this world must be paid for, and if we have not paid for it in this life through its sufferings, we must pay for it in purgatory.1
- Why is purgatory so long? Purgatory may only last for a brief moment or for many ages. It all depends on how many sins we have committed, how badly they have offended God, how badly they have hurt others and how much of it we have atoned for while living on earth.2