In the Gospel reading of today (John 15:9-11), Jesus said to His disciples, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love". In the Acts 15:7-21, a resolution was reached by the elders of the Church on the debate about whether the Gentiles should be circumcised or not. In Judaism, the Abrahamic covenant known as Brit bein HaBetarim was concretized in the circumcision of Abraham and all his male off-springs of both natural birth and adoption (CF. Gen 12-17). Obviously, Christianity came out of the Jewish culture and religion; hence some Jews who have become Christians felt that Christianity was a mere continuation of Judaism, leading to the council in Jerusalem to resolve this issue. Our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the fulfilment of the Law. St Peter head of the Church said at that council that we are saved by grace and not by circumcision. St James, Bishop of Jerusalem reaffirms what Peter says and delivers the decision of the council: that they should abstain from pollutions of Idols and from unchastity and from what is strangled and from blood.
Dear friends in Christ, we see the pre-eminence of Peter as the head of the College of the Apostles (Bishops), a role still carried on today by Pope Francis as the successor of Peter, through the unbroken cord of Apostolic succession. Obviously, it is an enormous responsibility and task to be the head of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. As Catholics we must pray each day for Pope Francis. The whole world is watching on his decision on this covid 19 pandemic; racial discrimination; gay marriages and trans-gender, just to mention but this few.
May God grant him and all the leaders of the Church the grace of final perseverance, and commit them daily to Our Mother Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of the Apostles.
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