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A reading from Acts 15:7-21

After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to the Apostles and the presbyters, “My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the Gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the Holy Spirit just as he did us. He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts. Why, then, are you now putting God to the test by placing on the shoulders of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they.” The whole assembly fell silent, and they listened while Paul and Barnabas described the signs and wonders God had worked among the Gentiles through them.

After they had fallen silent, James responded, “My brothers, listen to me. Symeon has described how God first concerned himself with acquiring from among the Gentiles a people for his name. The words of the prophets agree with this, as is written:

After this I shall return and rebuild the fallen hut of David; from its ruins I shall rebuild it and raise it up again, so that the rest of humanity may seek out the Lord, even all the Gentiles on whom my name is invoked. Thus says the Lord who accomplishes these things, known from of old.

It is my judgment, therefore, that we ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God, but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols, unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood. For Moses, for generations now, has had those who proclaim him in every town, as he has been read in the synagogues every sabbath.”

REFLECTION: "After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to the Apostles and the presbyters..."

Many people, including Catholics misunderstand the infallibility of the Papacy, the Magisterium, and the Church in general.

What we are reading in Acts today is what is called the "Council of Jerusalem".

The issues discussed here were beyond the circumcision of the newly converted people. It was mostly an issue that had been raised in Antioch, or the "Incident of Antioch". What happened was that Peter went to Antioch to bear witness to the integrity of Paul, who would not allow for any adaptations of the truth of the Gospel.

What happened? At that time, a circumcised Jewish Christian could not sit at the same table with a Gentile Christian without falling into impurity. Peter, had always testified to the supreme power of faith in Christ which gathers together within itself all human beings. He continued to do so in Antioch until the arrival of other Christians sent by James, who presided over the community of Jerusalem. It was then that Peter, who had previously eaten with the Gentiles, withdrew and separated himself from them for fear of the circumcision party (thus concealing what he truly believed). Therefore Paul became angry: “I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong” (Gal. 2:11).

To Paul's dismay, even Barnabas joined them in the rejection of the gentiles.

So today's reading is setup somewhere around year 48 to discuss these matters. We have Peter, James, Paul and Barnabas, and the rest of the presbyters discussing these issues.

What James proclaims, at the end of today's reading, is called an Apostolic Decree, a superior authority judgement:

"We ought to stop troubling the Gentiles who turn to God, but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols, unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood."

Later on in Acts 15:22-29, we will read that all the Apostles and presbyters get in agreement with James's words, write a letter to the gentiles of Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia saying:

"It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right."(Acts 15:28-29).

So you see the Church does not make rash decisions. Instead Priests and Bishops pray to the Holy Spirit and convene to discuss matters of the Church, so they can guide us in our ever more challenging world.

Today we have some German Bishops supporting the blessing of homosexual unions, and dissenting with the Vatican's opposition to such events. We have the media twisting the words of ProLife Bishops saying things like "A rising group of right-wing U.S. Catholic bishops is colliding with a very Catholic president who supports abortion rights." , instead of the official statement from Bishop Gomez and the USCCB.

These are some of the other reasons why we need to pray for our priests. Especially the PAPA Prayer for Priests, so "they are close to God", "lest the enemy prevail against them."

Please keep our Church leaders always in your prayers. So they can always remain faithful to their vocation. And that they lead us, the faithful, closer to Christ and not away from Him.

God bless y'all!


PAPA Foundation
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