First Reading: Acts 15:22-31
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 57
Gospel: John 15:12-17
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 teaching 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. (Acts 15:23-31)
Imagine that you are walking along and you come upon a beautiful brook. You are sitting there admiring it, you see the shiny rocks at the bottom, some little fish swimming around, and there is also the green plants swaying from the current. As you are admiring this brook and all that is in it, some kids come running through the brook and completely disturbing the peace. Now as you are sitting there looking at the brook you cannot see anything because the kids have muddied the waters. Now where you used to see all the things in the brook, all you see now is a brownish colored water. Now you are starting to question whether or not there were shiny rocks on the bottom, perhaps those weren't fish in there but rather the sun playing tricks on you, and you are also thinking that those plants looked to pretty to be in a brook like this, must have been an illusion. Yes, because of the muddy waters, doubt has now entered your mind.
In today's first reading from Acts, we see the early Church had issues with other people muddying the waters as well. People, not just Gentiles or Jews, but even fellow Christians who would come in an make things unclear for the disciples. But thankfully, as Peter and the other Apostles cleared things up for all the Christians. The Catholic Church still benefits from this same blessing today, as we have a Pope that sits on the Chair of Peter, who (along with the Magisterium) helps to clear up any false teaching or doubts from those who only seek to muddy the water.
In the scenario of our muddy water incident at the brook, the Church would come along and tell us that there is not reason to doubt. Just because we cannot see the things in the brook, that does not mean that they are not there. The Church would remind us of the shiny rocks, the fish and the plants. The Church helps make clear the things that we are in doubt of or the things which are not clear to us.
No matter how muddy the waters get, the Church will always be "the pillar of our faith" (1 Tim 3:15). Praise God that He has blessed us with His Bride to be a light and a guide to us in this world!
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with and all that you have given to us. Lord, we are not worthy of your love or attention, but you choose to freely pour it out to us at all times. Help us always to remain in your love and to never leave your faithful hands. Lord, we ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.