Gospel – John 14:23:29
Having heard last week of Jesus giving us a new commandment, to love one another, we rejoin Jesus and the apostles at the Last Supper. Jesus is instructing His apostles of the things to come. Before entering into the reading for today, it might be useful and informative to backtrack a few verses to John 14:15 and read:
1st Reading – Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Last week we heard of the end of Saint Paul’s first missionary journey. Today we hear of the Council of Jerusalem.
Just as the Jewish faith had a ruling council (Greek: Synedrion; transliterated into English as Sanhedrin), the early Christian church was not disorganized with the apostles and their followers each going their own separate ways. When a question arose, they would gather to work out a common answer which was applicable to all. The council of Jerusalem is the first known of these councils and was called to answer the questions raised by the Judaizers around A.D. 50, some 17-20 years after Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. Since that time there have been many local councils and 21 universal (ecumenical) councils. To be considered an ecumenical council, the works must be approved by the pope.
The council of Jerusalem falls in the middle of the book of Acts and describes the turning point for the Church when the council officially recognizes the evangelization of the Gentiles. This evangelization had been initiated by Saints Peter, Barnabas and Paul. Thus, the Christian church broke away from the Mosaic rules while maintaining its roots in the rich theology and traditions of the chosen people.
2nd Reading – Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
Last week we heard the beginning of John’s description of the Heavenly Jerusalem, we now continue with that description. We must remember that it was Jesus’ mission to go to the earthly Jerusalem to offer His sacrifice; so that we could find the path which we must follow to reach the Heavenly Jerusalem and dwell with Him forever.