Date: May 13,2007 Sixth Sunday in Easter
Readings: ACTS 15:1-2, 22-29* Psalm 67: 2-3, 5-6, 8*
Revelation 21: 10-14, 22-23* John 14: 23-29
As we read the Acts of the Apostles, our minds try to envision what was going on in the Church. We read earlier, all the disciples believed as one, and they shared their gifts with those who had none. However, there seems a dichotomy here, a difference of opinion.
Was it necessary for the new coverts, to undergo circumcision, the ancient symbol of Abraham's children? After all, to cut the foreskin of an infant boy seems a minor scratch and the boy doesn't seem to incur much pain or trauma. However, an adult not only suffers great pain, he also is put out of commission for a period of time. Out of this pragmatic approach, Paul and Barnabas decided it would not be necessary for new adult converts to be circumcised.
However, Paul and Barnabas weren't the leaders of the Universal Church. So, out of respect and deference, they traveled to Jerusalem, the home of the Jewish Christians and they appealed for an indult. When the Church heard the arguments, pro and con, they conferred and made the decision not to impose these rituals on new converts.
In today's Catholic Christian Church, topics of controversy, both dogmatic and disciplinary, are discussed at length. The Magisterium hears the evidence and presents their opinions to the Pope. The final decision is made from the Chair of Peter.
Make no mistake! The psalmist clearly states the situation. We are here, not for ourselves but for others. All the nations will praise God because His works are manifested through the people who DO His work.
John's vision of the New Jerusalem gives us hope in the final decisions of God regarding our salvation. He will stand at the gates of Heaven and will open them to those who have no stain upon their soul. The rest will wail and impugn, however, their actions, as ambassadors of Christ will determine their justice.
John's Gospel tells of the characteristics of those who will be saved. They will hear and do the word of the Lord. Those who pay lip service or disbelieve God's word and do not put the words into practice can depend on Christ's Justice. They will weep and cry. But, their sobs will not be heard over the din of celebration among the Holy Ones of God.