The Council of Jerusalem

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In our Gospel reading from John 15, Jesus speaks about joy. "I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete." Allow the joy of Jesus to be in you and come out of you today.

In today’s first reading from Acts 15, we read about the Council of Jerusalem. We see that the early Church was hierarchical. There was a dispute about whether the Gentiles needed to be circumcised and follow the Mosaic laws in order to be saved. Paul and Barnabas knew that this was not a matter that could be settled on a local level. This involved the teaching of the Church. So they went to Jerusalem to consult with the Apostles. The Pope (Peter) and the bishops (the Apostles) rendered their decision. And the whole of Christianity was bound by this teaching. That same teaching body still exists today in the Magisterium.

Something that some folks find off-putting - and others attractive - about the Catholic Church is its central teaching authority. This authority comes directly from Christ. He gave Peter and the Apostles the authority to bind and loose. (See Matthew 18:18) It's not up to every individual believer to determine what is truth. That authority was given to the Apostles and their successors, as Paul and Barnabas knew.

Father, may we believe fully in the deposit of faith as passed down through the ages by the Magisterium. Amen.

Today's Readings

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