Readings: Acts 15:22-31, John 15:12-17
The first-century Church faced an important doctrinal question: was it necessary for Gentiles (i.e., non-Jews) to keep the full Mosaic Law in order to be saved? Self-professed Christians argued on opposing sides of the issue. Yet, after the Council of Jerusalem, the Church’s ordained leaders decreed to the Gentile Christians:
“‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities…”
This conclusion was not merely the opinion of “the apostles and the presbyters.” As they themselves declare and Sacred Scripture affirms, the Holy Spirit was infallibly working with and through them. In his explanation of Why I Am a Catholic, G.K. Chesterton explained that, “[Catholicism] is the only thing that frees a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age.” Jesus said:
“I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.”
The Church is the bride of Christ. She is his intimate friend with whom Jesus shares everything. And, by the power of the Holy Spirit, she offers us protection and deliverance from the limitations and blind spots of our own particular cultures, eras, and intellects in questions of our Faith.