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Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

What is Essential?

Sixth Sunday of Easter

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” John 14:27

Today’s passage from Acts captures the beginning and the conclusion of what became known as the Jerusalem Council. It is well worth studying all of Acts 15, meant to provide an example of responsible leadership for the wider Church. There was substantial conflict within the community over what is necessary for unity in the diverse community of Jews and Gentiles. We can notice some key characteristics of the actions of the leadership.

The leaders acknowledged the reality of a significant conflict without minimizing it. [hey received and fully honored the diverse experiences of persons of different backgrounds. They worked with an accepted authority structure and a process to move toward resolution. They were committed to discerning the action and will of the Spirit, with a deep respect for testimony about how the Spirit was working. They avoided placing unneeded burdens on anyone. And afterward, they continued to observe the ongoing action of the Spirit as the decision was implemented.

The issues weighed by the Jerusalem Council in our passage from Acts were related to circumcision as a requirement, and to table fellowship. A strong theological tradition held that traditional practices were essential, and the community genuinely sought to maintain continuity with the roots of their faith. Peter’s observation about how the Spirit was actively working in their midst pointed the leaders in a new direction. Then James reminded them that the scriptural tradition also pointed to fully welcoming the Gentiles into God’s community.

It is a profound challenge for leaders in Our Own parishes when encountering issues that can fracture a community. What is essential and what is not? What are we called to embrace, or called to lay down? Acknowledging conflict and working toward resolution is an essential function for our parishes, because Christ calls us to live in unity. We are called to open our hearts, mine our tradition, and observe the activity of the Spirit.

Readings for the Week

Monday: Acts 16:11-15; Ps 149:1b-6a, 9b; Jn 15:26 — 16:4a
Tuesday: Acts 16:22-34; Ps 138:1-3, 7c-8; Jn 16:5-11
Wednesday: Acts 17:15, 22 — 18:1; Ps 148:1-2, 11-14; Jn 16:12-15
Thursday: Acts 1:1-11; Ps 47:2-3, 6-9; Eph 1:17-23 or Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23; Lk 24:46-53 (for Ascension); otherwise Acts 18:1-8; Ps 98:1-4; Jn 16:16-20
Friday: Acts 18:9-18; Ps 47:2-7; Jn 16:20-23
Saturday: Acts 18:23-28; Ps 47:2-3, 8-10; Jn 16:23b-28
Sunday: Acts 7:55-60; Ps 97:1-2, 6-7, 9; Rv 22:12-14, 16-17, 20; Jn 17:20-26 or (for Ascension) Acts 1:1-11; Ps 47:2-3, 6-9; Eph 1:17- 23 or Heb 9:24-28; 10:19-23; Lk 24:46-53

Saints & Special Observances

Sunday: Sixth Sunday of Easter
Monday: Victoria Day (Canada)
Wednesday: St. Bede the Venerable; St. Gregory VII; St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi
Thursday: The Ascension of the Lord (unless transferred to Sunday); St. Philip Neri
Friday: St. Augustine of Canterbury

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