Wednesday 5 October 2022 Week 27 in Ordinary Time
It was not till fourteen years had passed that I went up to Jerusalem again. I went with Barnabas and took Titus with me. I went there as the result of a revelation, and privately I laid before the leading men the Good News as I proclaim it among the pagans; I did so for fear the course I was adopting or had already adopted would not be allowed. On the contrary, they recognised that I had been commissioned to preach the Good News to the uncircumcised just as Peter had been commissioned to preach it to the circumcised. The same person whose action had made Peter the apostle of the circumcised had given me a similar mission to the pagans. So, James, Cephas and John, these leaders, these pillars, shook hands with Barnabas and me as a sign of partnership: we were to go to the pagans and they to the circumcised. The only thing they insisted on was that we should remember to help the poor, as indeed I was anxious to do.
When Cephas came to Antioch, however, I opposed him to his face, since he was manifestly in the wrong. His custom had been to eat with the pagans, but after certain friends of James arrived, he stopped doing this and kept away from them altogether for fear of the group that insisted on circumcision. The other Jews joined him in this pretense, and even Barnabas felt himself obliged to copy their behaviour.
When I saw they were not respecting the true meaning of the Good News, I said to Cephas in front of everyone, ‘In spite of being a Jew, you live like the pagans and not like the Jews, so you have no right to make the pagans copy Jewish ways.’
Psalm 116 Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News.
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘Say this when you pray: ‘“Father, may your name be held holy, your kingdom come; give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us. And do not put us to the test.”’
The text from Galatians points to the first known disagreement in the church. Should the pagans follow the customary law of the Jews. Paul strongly argues against this.
For the divided Christian Church of today this disagreement raises important questions. How much disagreement in understanding and practice is tolerable within the loving unity of the Church? To what extent does unity mean uniformity?
When the disciples call on Jesus to teach them to pray, he gives them the essence of the Gospel. Praise God, love God, and seek God’s will. Rely on God and trust that God will provide and protect. Love your neighbour. Be humble. Humility comes from forgiveness and sorrow. Don’t give in to what leads you away from God.
Really, the whole of the Jewish law is summed up here: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and love your neighbour as yourself.”
The core of the Gospel is what unifies, and this is the heart of the Jewish Law. It is not adherence to external practices such as circumcision. Rather, the heart must be circumcised, for this focuses us one God and in God we find our unity.
Il testo di Galati indica il primo disaccordo conosciuto nella Chiesa. I pagani dovevano seguire la legge abituale degli ebrei. Paolo si oppone con forza.
Per la Chiesa cristiana divisa di oggi questo disaccordo solleva importanti questioni. Quanto disaccordo nella comprensione e nella pratica è tollerabile all’interno dell’amorevole unità della Chiesa? Fino a che punto l’unità significa uniformità?
Quando i discepoli chiedono a Gesù di insegnare loro a pregare, egli dà loro l’essenza del Vangelo. Lodare Dio, amare Dio e cercare la volontà di Dio. Affidatevi a Dio e confidate che Dio provveda e protegga. Amare il prossimo. Siate umili. L’umiltà nasce dal perdono e dal dolore. Non cedete a ciò che vi allontana da Dio.
In realtà, l’intera legge ebraica è riassunta qui: “Ama il Signore tuo Dio con tutto il tuo cuore, la tua anima e la tua mente e ama il tuo prossimo come te stesso”.
Il cuore del Vangelo è ciò che unifica, e questo è il cuore della Legge ebraica. Non si tratta di aderire a pratiche esteriori come la circoncisione. Piuttosto, il cuore deve essere circonciso, perché questo ci concentra in un unico Dio e in Dio troviamo la nostra unità.