Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts15,22-31; Resp. Psalm: Ps57,8-12; Gosp. Accl.: Jn15,15; Gospel: Jn15,12-17
When we allow God to lead the way, there is no need for maps, directions, charts and coordinates. When God is truly in charge of one's life, future plans, dreams and aspirations, He becomes one's destiny because His all seeing eyes makes the best and only the best choices for us. Because our lives do not really belong to us, our attempts to try to control them end up in futility.
The Apostles decided that the church was not their property. They decided to place the interest of Christ over and above their personal interests. For them, Jesus had an unfinished business in the world: that of saving souls. They put themselves within that entire framework. All their actions must be towards that end. Such was the character of their exhortation to the young Christian community at Antioch.
For the Apostles and Elders, no gentile must be forced to submit to circumcision before he could become a Christian. The covenant Jesus made with His flesh and blood was far more binding on believers than the covenant God made with Abraham. God's covenant through His Son was of universal import and significance. Gentiles who decided to turn to the gospel were part of this universality that the gospel of Jesus Christ was directed to and meant for.
The Apostles and Elders only decided that gentiles for pastoral charity, must refrain from actions that might prove scandalous to their other brethren: they should refrain from meat and food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what is strangled and from unchastity. This was all. No more.
Our Lord's disciples must have deeply reflected on the farewell discourse of their Master to them at the Last Supper. The words of our Lord on that occasion must have been constant reminder to them. Our Lord told them in that occasion that He was giving them only one commandment, that they loved one another as He had loved them. And what was the depth of His love? He laid down His life for His friends.
On that occasion, He told that that unlike other disciples of other rabbis who chose the masters they wanted to follow, He was the One who chose His own disciples. He chose and appointed them to go out and bear fruit, and that their fruit should endure. If this happened, then in the name of Jesus they could ask the Father whatever they wanted and the Father would give it to them.
We need to reflect on the word for direction, especially in moments of crisis. We need to allow the word to lead us so that we could hear the voice of God through it. Let us therefore be docile to the word.
Let us pray: "Grant us, Lord, we pray, that being rightly conformed to the paschal mysteries, what we celebrate in joy may protect and save us with perpetual power." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.