A.D. The Bible Continues

The story of how the Apostles changed the world after Jesus died on the cross, rose from the dead and later ascended into heaven unfolds in the thrilling new mini-series, A.D. The Bible Continues, which debuted on NBC stations nationwide on Easter and continues on the next 11 Sundays. The mini-series is produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the team who brought The Bible to television and The Son of God to movie theaters.

A.D. The Bible Continues tells the riveting story of the very beginning of the Church with reverence, excitement, strong acting and dynamic special effects. As the story unfolds, we journey along with those who first walked with Jesus. Here we see how the Apostles and other disciples, empowered by the Holy Spirit, accepted Jesus’ mandate to go out and bring his Good News to the world. This small band of men and women who witnessed the risen Lord set out to change the world as they confront and ultimately triumph over worldly skepticism and a violent wave of persecution. That mission and those same challenges endure today, and people everywhere can find inspiration in this dramatic retelling of the origins of the Church.

Hopefully, watching this dramatization of the early Church will inspire all of us to go and learn more, including reading the actual story found in the Acts of the Apostles, in addition to the Gospels and letters of the Apostles. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website offers easy access to all the books of the Bible.

As we did with Son of God, the Archdiocese of Washington has again produced a catechetical video series, which will be accessible through our website at adw.org. Entitled, A Catholic Take on ‘A.D. The Bible Continues,’ the video series will have new installments available on Saturdays before the Sunday airing of each episode. A variety of other faith resources is available as well, including a study guide entitled, A.D. The Bible Continues: The Catholic Viewer’s Guide and A.D. The Bible Continues: Ministers and Martyrs.

Last fall, I wrote a blog series on the book of Acts, emphasizing how that story should resonate in our lives. Before ascending into heaven, Jesus tells his followers, “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). Those words launch the Acts of the Apostles. They launch the early Church. We must allow them to launch our work as we share the Good News, as we manifest and extend the kingdom of God and witness to Jesus in our homes, our workplaces, our schools, our communities and our world.

In the second chapter of Acts, we read of how the Holy Spirit on Pentecost fills the hearts of the Apostles in the upper room and enables them to boldly proclaim the Gospel to crowds of people in their own languages. As a result, about three thousand people accepted the faith that day (Acts 2:1-41).

For the first disciples who encountered the risen Christ and who opened their hearts to the Spirit, life was never the same. That change is true for us today. As agents of the New Evangelization, we are called to renew and deepen our faith, grow in confidence in its truth, and joyfully share the Good News that Jesus Christ is risen and is with us.

Watching A.D. The Bible Continues and reading the Acts of the Apostles help us recover the wonder of the ongoing Christian adventure. Like the Apostles and disciples who walked with Jesus and continued his mission of salvation, we as his missionary disciples today are called to help in Christ’s work of salvation in our everyday lives. Their story is our story. Like them, we can change the world. The adventure continues.