AD SENSE

27th Week, Wednesday, Oct 7

Galatians 2:1-2, 7-14 / Luke 11:1-4

Paul rebukes Peter: You are not being straightforward.

Some Jewish converts to Christianity continued to eat only foods that were allowed by old Jewish dietary laws. Peter no longer observed these antiquated laws. One day, when some of these conservative converts visited Peter, he observed the laws, too, rather than rock the boat. When Paul heard about this, he rebuked Peter for not being straightforward. Paul's point with Peter is clear. We can't compromise ourselves simply to maintain peace and harmony. There are times when we must act and speak out candidly. 

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How candid are we about our faith when we are around people 

who believe and act differently than we do? "If anyone declares publicly that he belongs to me,  I will do the same for him before my Father in heaven." Matthew 

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Unity is indeed a very powerful sign. In the secular sense, unity is a sign of solidarity and brotherhood. When the Church stands united as one, it is not just a sign of solidarity and brotherhood; it is also a sign of God's presence that unites all in one heart and mind. Furthermore, the Church is to be a sign of unity, uniting people with God through worship, through charity and proclaiming the Good News of God's saving love for all people.

In the 1st reading, St. Paul understood the importance of unity especially in the proclamation of the Good News. Hence he took the effort  to meet up with the elders of the Church, people like Peter, James and John, and he also brought along Barnabas and Titus so that all would have a common understanding and solidarity in the work of proclaiming the Good News.

All seemed well and good and in harmony until Peter did something which Paul thought was wrong. Peter had been eating with pagans but he stopped and kept away from them for fear of those Jewish Christians who would criticize him for eating with the uncircumcised.

Needless to say, there was a confrontation between Paul and Peter. It would seemed that the unity that was forged with so much effort was breaking up.

Yet the issue would be resolved and unity would be restored. But that would not mean that the unity would not face any more challenges again. There would always be challenges to the unity of the Church because the powers of evil are out to break up the Church and to scatter the believers. But as we reflect and pray the prayer that Jesus taught us, the very first two words "Our Father" would would tell us that we must be united with each other because we believe that God is our Father and we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Unity can be achieved with forgiveness. But without forgiving each other, we would be torn apart and scattered. So let us forgive each other, just as God has forgiven us.

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Wednesday of 27th Week
LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY

Introduction
Though he had received his mission from Jesus and worked mainly among pagans, Paul was in union with those who worked among the Jews; they approved of his work, but asked him to help the poor Christians of Jewish origin. Paul tells the Galatians also how he stood up to Peter the time when the latter did not eat from the table of Christians coming from paganism under pressure from Christians from Jewish origin. That’s hypocrisy, said Paul.
The disciples must have admired Jesus when he prayed, for when he had finished, they asked him to teach them to pray. This is indeed what we too should ask him in this Eucharist, that our prayer may be wide and deep like his, giving honor to the Father and bringing to him the stream of the needs and concerns of all. And like him too, in our prayers we try not to bend God’s will to ours, but ours to God’s will and Intercessions.

Opening Prayer
God our Father,
you tell us today how Jesus prayed
and taught his disciples to pray
first and foremost for the glory of your name,
for the coming and growth of your kingdom,
and for heaven and earth to do your will.
We know that this will is a Father’s will
and so we ask of you with trusting faith:
Let your will be ours,
let your glory be ours,
let your kingdom of peace and justice,
of love and forgiveness be ours
and let it grow among us now and for ever.

Commentary
Paul makes no apology for his belief that Christians were free from the Jewish law. He himself had excellent Jewish credentials, born and raised a Jew, educated well beyond his peers, an opponent of the Christians even to the point of persecution. But called from birth by God, he realized that God’s Son had been revealed to him and that he was sent to proclaim him to the Gentiles. He went up to Jerusalem and conferred with Peter and James. He was completely confirmed in his mission. The question of die Jewish law for the Gentiles had been resolved.
And yet Peter, when he came to Antioch, ate freely with the Gentile Christians. But when Jewish Christians came from Jerusalem, Peter pulled back and would not eat with the Gentile Christians. For Paul this was pure hypocrisy, and he did not hesitate to confront Peter about it directly. In the midst of conflict, Paul asks Peter, How can we ask Gentiles to live as Jews?
We no longer live under the Jewish law. But does that mean that we are lax and indifferent? The Christian ethos goes far beyond the law in calling us to be perfect as is our heavenly Father. Its demands are great. In the love of God and neighbor, we are called to go beyond the law. We go wherever charity calls us. The fact is that the Jewish law has been supplanted by the law of love.

Points to Ponder
Paul and the law
Peter’s equivocation
The Christian ethic and the law

Intercessions
– That we may be praying people, so that the source of our strength may never run dry and that we may live and work in the presence of God, we pray:
– That for Christians and for all people prayer may not become a flight from life or from involvement with people in need, we pray:
– That we may learn from Christ to place first things first when we pray, to give priority to things that really matter: the coming of God’s kingdom and the good of the People of God, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
God our Father,
the gifts here in our hands
express the prayers of all those present
and also of those who are not here.
Help us to grow in depth and width
in a life of faith and prayer.
Teach us to pray like your Son,
that you may accept us with him
who is our Lord for ever.

Prayer after Communion
God our Father,
keep us listening to your word,
as we have done here in the presence of your Son.
Keep us in constant dialogue with you,
that we may also be capable of dialogue
with the world and with our brothers and sisters.
Let prayer be to us a source of commitment
that never dries up.
We ask you this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

Blessing

It is good to remember that as Christians we have the task to pray for all people. It is our role to be mediators, just as we are also mediators of peace and reconciliation. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.