There are undoubtedly many different versions of Christianity on offer in the world today – churches and sects abound. That’s why the feast days that occur around this time are so important. Yesterday we celebrated the feast of the early martyr and theologian, Irenaeus. He could trace his teaching back directly via St. Polycarp to St. John the Evangelist. Tomorrow we celebrate the feast day of the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome – Christians who were put to death for their faith in the first century. And today we celebrate the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul, both martyred in Rome in the 60s of the first century.
All these martyrs gave their lives because they knew Jesus as their risen Lord. They all knew too that the community that gathered to celebrate the Eucharist was the way in which that risen Lord was encountered. And they all knew that authentic teaching about Christ was found by following the teaching of the Apostles who had been personally present with Christ whilst he was upon earth.
Our communion with them and with their successors the bishops and Pope guarantee that among all the confusing versions of Christ’s teaching on offer what we believe is what he and his earliest followers taught – ‘the Catholic faith that comes to us from the Apostles’.