Please be aware that scammers are using priests’ e-mails asking for donations, gift cards, etc. Ignore anything like that that comes. My e-mail has been used so this is not theoretical.
We have contributed $7,717 toward our parish goal for the Catholic Stewardship appeal. This appeal
is crucial for services we receive from the archdiocese and help given to those in need through Catholic Charities. If you have not yet contributed, please do so.
Scandals and strong ideological divisions are not new to the Catholic Church, as evidenced by our first reading this weekend from the Acts of the Apostles. The first Christians were Jews near Jerusalem and they continued to follow many of the former laws and practices. Paul was far from Jerusalem and converting Gentiles, without requiring them to follow Jewish practices and laws. Some in Jerusalem were shouting “heresy” and sending delegations that were upsetting the churches that Paul had established. The early Church navigated through this difficulty with a process that is valuable for us to remember today, as a Church, as a country, as a community, as individuals.
First, people came together to talk, to debate, to explain their viewpoints (this gathering is called the Council of Jerusalem, the first Council of the Catholic Church). Emphasis was placed on lived experience and on the scriptures. Then they prayed and discerned, coming to a conclusion that everyone could live with. Finally, they communicated the decision throughout the Church.
It seems like everywhere in our culture there is division and disagreement. In itself that is not a problem: it is an invitation to growth. The problem lies in the negative approaches taken, such as name calling, attacking people instead of looking at the issues, not being willing to compromise, etc., etc.
I invite us to reflect on the process presented to us in this reading, asking ourselves to what extent we use positive approaches to a disagreement, approaches that lead to a resolution. Perhaps identifying negative approaches we use, such as attacking an individual instead of staying on the issue, might give us greater clarity on how we can grow in helping to resolve differences. Blessed are the peacemakers…. And let us support each other in prayer.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS