READINGS for 2009-05-13

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



 “Remain in me, as I remain in you.” – John 15:4
The chat window might as well have displayed this: Remain, Remain, Remain, Remain, Remain, Remain, Remain, Remain in Me. I was online with a friend abroad. We’re close so she confessed a sexual sin that was making her feel guilty. I supported her by listening and told her that when she falls again, “Just keep standing up.”
Oftentimes, standing up after falling is the only thing that separates the sinner and the saint. Because if you take a close look at the lives of many saints, they weren’t sinless. But they did know how to rise each time they fell into sin.
In today’s Gospel, notice that the word “remain” and the message of “remain in me” was repeated eight times — once per verse! Now I know why my kindergarten teacher repeats stuff to us: she wants us to remember! So I guess this is God’s unsubtle way of shouting to us, “Stay With Me!”Jomar Hilario
“For the just man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble to ruin.” (Proverbs 24:16)
Lord, give me the grace to always remain in You. And when I fall into sin, grant me the strength to rise again.


There is a problem in the Early Church! What is the status of the Mosaic Law and its various practices in the light of the Gospel? Do we still have to follow all the dietary laws, etc.? This is not a simple issue in the eyes of most and so the wisdom of the Jerusalem Church is sought and ultimately obtained. It is important that we have a reference point for authority otherwise there is no way of settling a dispute such as this. It will be just left up to the best debater to win the day! This is why Jesus gave authority to Peter, the first Pope, and it has been thus from the beginning of the Church until today.
Acts 15:1-6
1 Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” 2 Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and presbyters about this question. 3 They were sent on their journey by the church, and passed through Phoenicia and Samaria telling of the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers. 4 When they arrived in Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, as well as by the apostles and the presbyters, and they reported what God had done with them. 5 But some from the party of the Pharisees who had become believers stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and direct them to observe the Mosaic law.” 6 The apostles and the presbyters met together to see about this matter.
Psalm 122:1-2. 3-4ab. 4cd-5
R: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
1 I rejoiced because they said to me, “We will go up to the house of the LORD.” 2 And now we have set foot within your gates, O Jerusalem. (R) 3 Jerusalem, built as a city with compact unity. 4 To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD. (R) According to the decree for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. 5 In it are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David. (R)
Today we also remember the appearance of Our Lady to the three children in Fatima, Portugal. The message of peace and repentance she brought is nothing new to the Gospel. Her appearance served as a reminder to us of certain aspects of our faith and we do well to reflect upon the message of Fatima. When mothers speak seriously to their children, it is wise to listen as there is good reason for the message coming forth.
John 15:1-8
1 Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. 2 He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit. 3 You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you. 4 Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
my reflections
think:When mothers speak seriously to their children, it is wise to listen as there is good reason for the message coming forth.

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________


the Question oF circumcision
The question of whether circumcision is a necessary aspect of the faith arises from the fact that, for the Jews, it was at the heart of their religious practice. Will the Church follow the Jewish practice and insist on it or will the practice be reviewed? It all boils down to how we understand the connection between faith and the practice of that faith. Is it essential to our life of faith to be circumcised? The Church decided that it was not necessary and that true circumcision as the Scriptures mean it has to do with circumcising our hearts’ desires such that all that is not directed towards God is cut off or excised from our lives. It can be very difficult to change a tradition that has been followed for more than a millennium, but that is what the Church did. Maybe this break with the tradition of circumcision, and some of the other tenets of the Holiness Code that had to do with foods, etc, caused the final differentiation of the Jewish and Christian faiths and was the last straw, so to speak, that cemented the idea that Christian faith was not just the development of another Jewish sect.
As we reflect upon this change in practice, we need to remember and realize that practices are open to change within the faith. When inculturating the Gospel into new lands and ethnic groups, some ways of expressing the basic truths of the faith may have to change in order that they make sense to the people being evangelized. Paul, in his support of the above change, was thinking of how to most effectively proclaim the Gospel without compromising its essential character. This is one of the constant tensions we face even today and one we have to approach carefully and ultimately leave to the authority of the Church to make the final decision. Such matters belong to the Church and not individuals to decide because any local decision has to be looked at in terms of the wider influence as well. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
Reflection Question:
What are the fundamental authorities I recognize in my life? Do I respect the teachings of the Church in the decisions I have to make?
Lord, grant me the grace to have a heart supple to Your teaching and truth so that I will not stray from orthodoxy in my faith walk.
St. Servatius, Bishop, pray for us.

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