Wednesday, May 13, 2009


First Reading: Acts 15:1-6
Psalm: Ps 122:1-5
Gospel: Jn 15:1-8

Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima


Do you remember being a child and asking your parents questions? "Why is the sky blue?" was a favorite in our house. Now that we're older, where do we go for our answers to all of our questions? The library? The internet? Someone with experience? If we disagree with someone, how do we determine who is right?

Most often, we will seek out a wise counsel. Someone who is very learned in the subject that we are interested in at the moment. For instance, scientists when discussing the sciences. If a question or dispute arises in the area where a particular scientist is very reputable, they might be asked to give their opinion of the matter. They are consulted because they have a put a lot of time and thought into the problem, studied it from a number of angles, and presumably have the best current understanding of the issue.

In the reading for today, a dispute has arisen among the Christians between those of Jewish heritage and those of the Gentiles. The Jewish Christians want to continue observing the Mosaic law, including circumcision. The others feel that this is not necessary. Only one way to settle the dispute: go back to those who are the most knowledgeable on the subject, the apostles. This would be the first of many counsels that the Church would hold to settle differences within the body of Christ, according to his word (see Matthew 18:15-17).

Notice that the apostles do not give an answer immediately. They hear discussion and debate on the subject. They are willing to weigh the merits of both arguments. However, they also add in another element, the teachings with which they are so familiar. Just as a prominent scientist weighs theories against each other, he must also take into account everything else known about the subject before he endorses one theory or another.

We should take this as a lesson for ourselves and not be quick to take sides, but learn what each side has to say. Take the time to discover why people support one belief or another. Above all, discuss with respect. Remember, each side held strongly to their side of the argument, but all of them wanted to follow the teachings of Jesus.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of this day. We pray that we might be respectful in our discussions with those who do not believe what we do. Help us to keep patience and humility in our hearts when speaking to those who disagree, and ward off anger and pride. Give us the grace to see others that differ with us as brothers and sisters in our Lord and to treat them as such, correcting where we must, loving at all times. We ask all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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