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Martyria (Witness)

Martyria - The Ministry of Witness
Readings: Reflections, pp.26-28; UC Perspective, p.7; RC Perspective, p.7
What words or phrases stand out for you in the following passages?
Now are you talking about what it is you know
Or just repeating what it was you heard
- Jefferson Starship, "Play On Love" (1975)
"If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true.
There is another who testifies on my behalf,
and I know that his testimony to me is true.
You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth.
Not that I accept such human testimony,
but I say these things so that you may be saved.
He was a burning and shining lamp,
and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.
But I have a testimony greater than John’s.
The works that the Father has given me to complete,
the very works that I am doing,
testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.
And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf.
You have never heard his voice or seen his form,
and you do not have his word abiding in you
 because you do not believe him whom he has sent."
John 5:31-38
When I remember you in my prayers I always thank my God
because I hear of your love for all the saints
and your faith towards the Lord Jesus.
I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective
when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ.
I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love,
because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

- Philemon 1: 4–7
Excerpts for Reflection and Discussion
  1. "He [Paul VI, in Evangelii Nuntiandi, "Proclaiming the Gospel"]mirrors the approach of St Francis and his companions, who saw their mission as preaching the Gospel, but only 'using words if necessary.' St Francis’ focus is on a Gospel life lived in action that reflects the love of God in Christ."
  2. "The church is holy only in the gift of God’s holiness, but all in the church are called to a holy way of life in Christ, who is the “author and maker” of holiness. Holiness is the gift of the Spirit who moves Jesus’ disciples 'interiorly to love God with their whole heart, with their whole soul, with their whole understanding, with their whole strength, and to love one another as Christ loved them.'"
  3. "For the Catholic Church, this gift of holiness is expressed in the church’s teaching on the communion of saints, and the singling out of some witnesses as sure signs of holiness to inspire others in their imitation of Christ. These are called saints, but all are called to be saints."
  4. "The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ bear witness to God’s work of salvation. In bearing witness Jesus reveals the truth of his identity and the work of God that he has been sent to do."
  5. "Jesus’ mission includes his witness to the work of salvation being carried out by God in Israel’s history and conclusively through himself."
  6. "The witness of the church is understood as a participation in Christ’s self-witness and his witness to the work of God’s Holy Spirit for the whole creation."
  7. "By virtue of their Christ‐like lives, Christians fulfil the church’s mission and seek to draw others into communion with God."
  8. "The Uniting Church places significant emphasis on the saving work of God in Jesus Christ as the content of those who are witnesses to Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church places an emphasis on how the church is witness through each person faithfully responding to what is named as the universal call to holiness, and as the communion of saints. Both approaches are found in each church with different emphasis."
  9. "the Uniting Church would recognise that sometimes the silent witness of a holy life may be an effective witness. Witness to Christ is to be offered by the whole life of the Christian."
  10. "Certainly service may also be Christian witness."
  11. "...many faithful Christians from all generations... are listed for commemoration on particular dates and classified as one of the following: apostle, witness to Jesus, martyr, Christian thinker, Christian pioneer, reformer of the church, person of prayer or faithful servant. To see and know their story of witness is to be encouraged in our witness today. Many names are common to the lists of both churches."
  12. "The Catholic emphasis on the importance of the holy personal life as witness to Christ resonates with the holiness emphasis, the work of the Holy Spirit to sanctify the lives of believers, inherited by the Uniting Church from Methodism."
  13. "A question which relates “witness” to “koinonia” concerns how effectively the witness of the church is offered to the world beyond the church, when the world sees the church as not having that unity and communion in itself which it proclaims is the goal which God has for all the people of the world."
  14. "Our churches commonly affirm that the category of witness implies more than the verbal proclamation of the gospel, but extends to the exemplary actions of Christ’s disciples. Both our traditions affirm that lives conformed to Christ in the obedience of personal holiness can be the means of unspoken witness to Christ, and that all Christians are called to conform their lives to Christ in this way."
  15. "Our discussion of the relationship between mission and witness pointed to only minimal differences, the key one being the UCA’s tendency to regard witness as something verbal, whereas the Catholic Church more naturally speaks of the comprehensiveness of witness through word and life. Whilst this difference was instructive about our respective theological traditions, it was finally perceived to be a case of complementary rather than contrasting differences...."
  16. How is witness expressed in action that reflects the love of God?
    How can you live as a saint today?