October 10, 2018
St. Paul said, when they (the Apostles) recognized the grace bestowed upon me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas their right hands in partnership, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Gal_2:1-2,7-14
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News. Ps_117_response
Jesus said, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” Lk_11:1-4
The last and most important thing that Jesus commanded His disciples and us to do, beloved, was to “Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.” In a world filled with hurricanes and floods, wars and evil, hatred and death, people are still baffled by what that phrase, “The Good News” really means.
And yet, as Catholics, as Christians, we are very familiar with the term. We understand that, just the fact that the Son of God came, in all His Divinity, to live among us, proves to us how incredibly much God really Loves us.
We understand that, not only did Jesus teach us about this great love of God, but, He showed us, through His own example, how we mere humans can love one another – just as freely and just as much – as God loves us, through our actions of mercy, and forgiveness, and acceptance; and then by teaching others exactly what Jesus taught us.
And when it’s all said and done, and we find death knocking at OUR door, WE, as faithful Christians, know that death is really not – some ominous and fearful ending, but rather, it’s a glorious gateway to Love beyond our wildest dreams. It’s a new beginning. And THAT’s some pretty awesome Good News.
And yet, throughout the ages, mankind had complicated the simple beauty of this Good News with rules, and requirements, and so many conditions, that it almost seemed impossible to even hope for.
And we can go all the way back to St. Paul to see some of the earliest examples of that Good News being lost and then re-found, as we heard in his note to the Galatians today.
St. Paul, was the perfect example of “Going out to tell the Good News.” He converted people throughout East-Asia and Europe to belief in Jesus.
And yet, with the great distances between these “new churches,” Paul was only able to visit them on rare occasions. So, word of their progress would come through helpers, and Paul would commend the growth or admonish the errors of those Churches – in Letters.
Unfortunately, what often happened, was that other missionaries would visit those churches while Paul was not there, and distort Paul’s teaching, either because of their ignorance or for their own selfish gain. And that’s exactly what happened to the church in Galatia.
Jewish converts to the Faith came after Paul, as missionaries, and insisted that the new Pagan Christians had to first become Jews through circumcision, and then follow all of their 613-laws, before Jesus could ever save them.
So Paul, not only had to re-validate his authenticity to the Galatians, but he also had to get agreement with the Apostles living in Jerusalem, that the teaching of these Judaizers was wrong. All of this led to what was called the Council of Jerusalem, where the Apostles and Paul agreed that circumcision would not be required in order for a Gentile to become a Christian.
And all of this should have been a moot point, because it was Jesus Himself who taught them the importance of Loving God and their Neighbor as well – without qualifying whether that neighbor was a Jew or a Gentile, black or white, slave or free-person.
Isn’t it sad how we can make such simple Good News so complicated. And we still do this today! It’s just part of our human nature. And that’s why Jesus brings us back to God through prayer.
Jesus taught His disciples and us to pray in recognition of God’s great love; He taught us to petition God for the food we need to live, and the strength we need to endure trials. And He taught us to apply that Golden Rule – of Love for others as we would like to be loved ourselves – with mercy, and kindness, and compassion.
This is the Good News of God’s love.
And this IS our calling!
Now it’s up to us, beloved,
to Go out into our world
(wherever that may be for us),
and simply share it!
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