Posted by: frburke23 | May 7, 2015

Thought for Friday, 5th Week of Easter

Acts of the apostles 15:22-31

The Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church,
decided to choose representatives
and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas.
The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas,
and Silas, leaders among the brothers.
This is the letter delivered by them:
“The Apostles and the presbyters, your brothers,
to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia
of Gentile origin: greetings.
Since we have heard that some of our number
who went out without any mandate from us
have upset you with their teachings
and disturbed your peace of mind,
we have with one accord decided to choose representatives
and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we are sending Judas and Silas
who will also convey this same message by word of mouth:
‘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. Farewell.’“

And so they were sent on their journey.
Upon their arrival in Antioch
they called the assembly together and delivered the letter.
When the people read it, they were delighted with the exhortation.

===============================================

Once again today we see how the early Church functioned.  Paul and Barnabas had returned to the apostles in Jerusalem because some of the converts to Christianity were asking that the new Christians be circumcised.  So the leaders, the “Apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole Church”, sent Judas and Silas along with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch to deliver the message of the Church.

They wanted the people of Antioch to know that this message was not just coming from a few people, but that it was coming from the leaders of the Church, the Apostles, who were constantly praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  They reassured the people that those had been telling them that they had to be circumcised were teaching “without any mandate from us.”  In other words, the teaching authority must come from the Church.  This is how the Church has maintained its teaching until this day.

And what did they decide“‘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. Farewell.’”

They were exhorted not to eat certain meats and blood and they were to guard the importance of marriage.  Of course, along with this teaching came all the teachings of Jesus, namely to love God and to love neighbor.  The people “were delighted with the exhortation.”  The teaching had authority because it came from the Church.  Circumcision was not required of them for salvation, but they were to guard what they ate and to protect marriage.

How do I receive the authoritative teaching of the Church?

Am I “delighted” to be obedient to the inspired teaching of the Church?

Would I prefer to do my own thing?

It is not easy to be obedient in our culture.  So many things are fighting directly against the teaching of the Church.  And yet I have found such beauty in the Church’s teaching.  We believe that the Holy Spirit continues to guide us on our pilgrim way.

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke 

Here is the Spanish translation:

HECHOS DE LOS APOSTOLES 15:22-31

En aquellos días, los apóstoles y los presbíteros, de acuerdo con toda la comunidad cristiana, juzgaron oportuno elegir a algunos de entre ellos y enviarlos a Antioquía con Pablo y Bernabé. Los elegidos fueron Judas (llamado Barsabás) y Silas, varones prominentes en la comunidad. A ellos les entregaron una carta que decía:

“Nosotros, los apóstoles y los presbíteros, hermanos suyos, saludamos a los hermanos de Antioquía, Siria y Cilicia, convertidos del paganismo. Enterados de que algunos de entre nosotros, sin mandato nuestro, los han alarmado e inquietado a ustedes con sus palabras, hemos decidido de común acuerdo elegir a dos varones y enviárselos, en compañía de nuestros amados hermanos Bernabé y Pablo, que han consagrado su vida a la causa de nuestro Señor Jesucristo. Les enviamos, pues, a Judas y a Silas, quienes les transmitirán, de viva voz, lo siguiente:

‘El Espíritu Santo y nosotros hemos decidido no imponerles más cargas que las estrictamente necesarias. A saber: que se abstengan de la fornicación y de comer lo inmolado a los ídolos, la sangre y los animales estrangulados. Si se apartan de esas cosas, harán bien’. Los saludamos”.

Los enviados se despidieron y cuando llegaron a Antioquía, reunieron a la comunidad cristiana y les entregaron la carta. Al leer aquellas palabras alentadoras, todos se llenaron de júbilo.

_______________________________________________

Una vez más, hoy vemos cómo la Iglesia primitiva funcionaba. Pablo y Bernabé habían regresado con los apóstoles en Jerusalén porque algunos de los convertidos al cristianismo estaban pidiendo que los nuevos cristianos fueran circuncidados. Así que los líderes, los “apóstoles y presbíteros, de acuerdo con toda la comunidad cristiana”, enviaron a Judas y Silas, junto con Pablo y Bernabé a Antioquía para entregar el mensaje de la Iglesia.

Ellos querían que el pueblo de Antioquía supiera que este mensaje no solo venia de unas pocas personas, sino que venía de los líderes de la Iglesia, los Apóstoles, quienes estaban constantemente orando por la guía del Espíritu Santo. Ellos le aseguraron a la gente que los que habían estado diciendo tenían que ser circuncidados estaban enseñando “sin mandato nuestro.” En otras palabras, la autoridad docente tiene que venir de la Iglesia. Así es como la Iglesia ha mantenido su enseñanza hasta el día de hoy.

¿Y qué decidieron? “El Espíritu Santo y nosotros hemos decidido no imponerles más cargas que las estrictamente necesarias. A saber: que se abstengan de la fornicación y de comer lo inmolado a los ídolos, la sangre y los animales estrangulados. Si se apartan de esas cosas, harán bien’. Los saludamos”.

Se les exhorto a no comer ciertas carnes y sangre y a guardar la importancia del matrimonio. Por supuesto, junto con esta enseñanza vinieron todas las enseñanzas de Jesús, es decir, amar a Dios y amar al prójimo. La gente “se llenó de júbilo.” La enseñanza tenía autoridad porque venía de la Iglesia. La circuncisión no se les requería para la salvación, pero debían proteger lo que comían y proteger el matrimonio.

¿Cómo recibo la enseñanza autorizada de la Iglesia?
¿Estoy “encantado” de ser obediente a la enseñanza inspirada de la Iglesia?
¿Preferiría hacer lo mío?

No es fácil ser obediente en nuestra cultura. Muchas cosas están luchando directamente contra la enseñanza de la Iglesia. Y sin embargo he encontrado tanta belleza en la enseñanza de la Iglesia. Creemos que el Espíritu Santo continúa guiándonos en nuestra peregrinación.

¡Tengan un día bendecido!
Padre Burke


Responses

  1. Hi Fr Burke. Just wanted to clarify & understand something you said in your commentary for today. You mention the apostles & presbyters were not mandating Baptism. I thought the argument had to do with some mandating circumcision. Please clarify. Thank you & have a blessed day.
    Susan Carroll

    • You are right. In the first paragraph I mentioned circumcision but then baptism in the second paragraph. That was an oversight on my part. Both should refer to circumcision. Thank you! I made the correction.


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