From Our Pastor: 6th Sunday of Easter
Today we hear the question and the apostolic letter answering the question of the necessity of circumcision for salvation. This is the model the Catholic Church has used throughout its history; the missing part is commonly called the first ecumenical council of Jerusalem. The apostles gathered and shared a discussion of what Christ revealed to them. Peter spoke and the apostles agreed, and then drafted a letter to send to the “churches” instructing them. We still see this today.
A question is posed. The bishops discuss. The pope and bishops issue a letter to the churches of the world instructing and guiding. It isn’t consensus building, but truth seeking and clarifying. Differing letters have been issued instructing and teaching on various questions over the many years of the Church clarify a doubt or question someone has. The “churches” they send letters to are founded by the apostles themselves; remember that to be a “church” one must have direct apostolic lineage.
This unites us as one Church founded on the foundation of the apostles, with Peter being the first among equals, and Christ as the cornerstone. Seen so clearly in the Acts of the Apostles and the council of Jerusalem, as well as in the book of Revelation with the 12 gates and 12 courses of stones and 12 angels and 12 on and on and on. The number 12 showing the fullness of revelation for all nations and all peoples; marking the names of the 12 apostles that shows all of the Church, which is the fulfillment of the fullness of the 12 tribes, which showed all of Israel. We are called to be one Church founded by Christ. Any division is not of Christ.
Jesus tells us in John’s gospel today of that oneness and unity we are called to have in the Church. It is not just a consensus; it is a unity lived out truly in our baptism and reception of the Eucharist. It is a unity only found in the Catholic Church. We are called to love Jesus and keep His word, not what I want, but what Christ wants. We are promised the gift of the Holy Spirit and Peace. He reminds us not to be afraid, for the peace of Christ cannot be taken away no matter the troubles or struggles ahead. This Advocate/Spirit was promised to the Church that she remain one and that the gates of hell would not prevail over the Church Christ founded and promised the Spirit. In unity with His Church we find truth. In unity with His Church we find love.
That love is shown to us in Christ as both Lamb of Sacrifice and Temple. In Christ we see the unity that we seek, and unity with Him and His Church shows forth the eternal city, the new Jerusalem, glory of God and His light for all the world to see through it. Christ is the Son and our sun. He is our light. Now we the Catholic Church must experience that unity and truth and be that light and love of Christ to the world.
-Rev. Steven Arisman