10Oct 10 October. Wednesday, Week 27

1st Reading: Galatians (2:1-2, 7-14)

Paul corrects Peter for compromising the equal status of all believers

After fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up in response to a revelation. Then I laid before them (though only in a private meeting with the acknowledged leaders) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure that I was not running, or had not run, in vain.

On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter making him an apostle to the circumcised also worked through me in sending me to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabas and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.

But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood self-condemned; for until certain people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But after they came, he drew back and kept himself separate for fear of the circumcision faction. And the other Jews joined him in this hypocrisy, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

Resp. Psalm (Ps 117)

R.: Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News

Praise the Lord, all you nations,
glorify him, all you peoples! (R./)

For steadfast is his kindness toward us,
and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever. (R./)

Gospel: Luke (11:1-4)

Luke’s version of the Our Father prays for today’s needs

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “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 indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”


Jews and Gentiles united in one church

Paul roots in God’s promises to Abraham his conviction that gentiles are “coheirs” with Jesus. Prompted by a personal revelation he exlained to the original disciples the gospel as he preached it to prospective converts. It is condensed in a famous statement to be read later this week: “Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, all are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). Circumcision and dietary laws were no longer obligatory. Paul was so convinced of this new freedom and equality  in Christ that when Peter came to Antioch and would not eat food with gentile Christians, Paul blamed him, “for he was clearly in the wrong.” It’s sobering to recall that the subsequent spread of the Church through the Roman world depended on Peter and others admitting that on this debated issue, Paul had been in the right.

Like Peter’ first response, we might be tempted to a bland conservatism. Our best intentions can be blocked by fear of confrontation. To let the Gospel prevail in us, we need the strength of daily prayer and of the  Eucharist. Luke’s shorter Our Father may have become a prayer before Holy Communion in the early church: “Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.”. It remains a good preparation of Eucharist, today.

How should we pray?

Yesterday’s gospel praises Mary of Bethany for prayerfully listening to the word of the Lord. Jesus combined a very active life with a deep love of prayer. His prayerfulness inspired his disciples to learn to pray like himself, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ They recognized that to pray properly they would need the Lord’s help. Prayer is not just a human activity; it is the Lord’s activity in us, through the Spirit.

The disciples’ request is, in itself, a valuable lesson, ‘Lord teach us to pray.’ (or we might say, ‘Lord, help me to pray; Lord, pray within me.’) The Our Father is rightly called the Lord’s prayer because it is a prayer that Jesus himself has taught. It begins with a focus on God and on God’s purposes, and it then shifts to a focus on human need. There is a pattern there that is valid for all of our prayer. We attend first to God and to whatever God wishes; and then to our needs before God.

4 Responses

  1. Steve Norbert

    They are very good trachings and I would like to have these homilies be sent via my email

  2. Fr. Vallyves Makhola

    In this world full of vices and irreligiousity we who present Christ to people should never be swayed but stand firm. As the Lord told Peter the spirit is willing but the body is weak, our weakness of spirit will be a great loss. We should feed the spirit by prayer. The seven petitions in the Lord’s prayer help us to pray to seek good things from the Lord God. Jesus is the only one whom I have heard he taught his disciples how to pray!!!

  3. Soline Humbert

    Surely the equal status of believers is compromised when women have no vote at the current synod on youth in Rome.Two religious brothers(not ordained)have votes,but none of the religious sisters. The truth that in Christ there is no longer “male and female”,that we are One, is undermined by the ongoing sexist discrimination at all levels in the Church,which amounts to a form of gender apartheid,with women being second class citizens in the household of faith. As such it is a counter witness to the Gospel message.

  4. Sean MacHale

    What Pope Francis has to say about abortion.


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