Pope Continues Teaching on Saint Paul

From Asia News Italy:

Christian freedom “never corresponds to licentiousness or the whim to do whatever one wants. It conforms to Christ, and so is authentic service to one’s brothers, especially the neediest.” This is the teaching that Saint Paul draws from the Council of Jerusalem which Benedict XVI proposed again to the 20,000 faithful in St Peter’s Square in today’s general audience, for as was the case between Peter and Paul, “only an open and sincere dialogue can lead onto the path of the Church.”
Back in the Vatican after his summer break in Castel Gandolfo, the Pope went on to talk about the Apostle of the Nations devoting his reflections to him in the last few Wednesday audiences. Today he focused on two episodes that show Paul’s respect for the Twelve Apostles, and his inner freedom.

The first episode is the so-called Council of Jerusalem which took place around 50 AD. “The assembly took place at a time of major tensions within the original community.” The debate was especially heated “over the issue of whether Pagans who joined the faith had to be circumcised or were instead exempt from the Law of Moses; closely related to this were dietary rules of purity and impurity and the Sabbath.”

Against those who saw justice in the respect of the law, Paul offered “his Gospel of freedom from the law after the encounter with the Risen Christ.”

As he wrote in the Letter to the Galatians “in the Gospel of freedom Christ is justice” for “he is fully expressed in serving his brothers.”

The Council of Jerusalem “expressed the action of the Holy Spirit,” which for Paul “is the decisive recognition that freedom is shared by all those who took part in it, which is the freedom Christ gave us” in order that “we not let the yoke the slavery be imposed upon us. [. . .] Paul had come to realise that the grace of Christ had released the Gentiles from the rules of the Law of Moses.”

The other episode the Pope mentioned was the “Cyrene incident” in Turkey, involving a dispute of whether “Jews and Pagans could eat at the same table.” This was “another crucial component of the Law of Moses that separated practicing Jews from Pagans over the issue of dietary purity and impurity.”

“Initially Peter shared the table with either group but when guests arrived James began avoiding the table of non-Jews and began telling Paul that ‘you who are Jews live with Pagans”. But for Paul “separation from Pagans is a reason to divide. [. . .] If justice is done in accordance with Christ what sense is there in these rules?”

For Peter what mattered was “not losing Jews who had joined Christianity, for Paul it was not belittling the salvific value of Christ’s death for all believers.”

The incident in Antioch taught “a lesson to both Peter and Paul,” which is “only an open and sincere dialogue can lead onto the Church’s path.”

“The kingdom of God is not about food, but about justice and peace,” said the Pope. “The lesson that we too must learn is to let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, trying to live in freedom, whose guidance becomes real in service.”

“Conforming more to Christ is essential so that we can be truly free. This way true certainty and the deep essence of the law can grow in us, which is the love of God and our fellow man.”

St. Therese of Liseux

 

I ask her intercession on just about everything (right now praying for our house in IN to sell). Learn more about why she is so many people’s favorite intercessor. From a Shower of Roses by Therese J. Borchard:

I owe my life to St. Therese of Lisieux. A few times over.

This Carmelite nun–dubbed the “greatest saint of modern times” by Pope Pius X–declared on her deathbed that she would spend her time in heaven “doing good upon earth,” and that she would “let fall from heaven a shower of roses.”I was ten years old when I first witnessed the power of St. Therese’s novena, in the form of a literal shower of the roses she had promised. Named after the Little Flower myself, I could see my mother grasping for something that would heal the wound inside her when my father left. She went to prayer group once a week, said a rosary every morning, and hung an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in our kitchen.

But I especially remember her novena prayer to St. Therese: “St. Therese, the Little Flower, please pick me a rose from the heavenly garden and send it to me with a message of love. Ask God to grant me the favor I thee implore [state intention here], and tell him I will love him each day more and more.” Tradition holds that if you say the novena prayer, followed by five Our Fathers, five Hail Marys, and five Glory Be’s each day for five days, you will receive a shower of roses on the fifth day.

Roses for My Mother

Around the time my dad left, I knew my mom was particularly desperate and in need of a sign from heaven that she could raise her four daughters by herself, despite her hurt. On the fifth day of her novena, our neighbor Mr. Miller, who kept an impeccable garden, was pruning his rose bushes. As he trimmed off the fully blossomed flowers to make room for the tender buds, he noticed my twin sister playing soccer in the backyard.

“Give these to your mom,” he said. There must have been eight dozen roses of all different shades. With the skill of an artist, my sister went back and forth, from his garden to our kitchen, arranging all the roses until she ran out of vases and counter space.

Later, my mom came into the kitchen exhausted from a long day’s work to find what looked and smelled like a rose garden on our kitchen counter. Remembering it was the fifth day of her novena, she cried tears of hope.

The Little Flower’s petals have fallen onto my path at every major milestone in my life when I’ve begged her for a sign that I was headed in the right direction. In high school, when I decided to give up booze, a florist came to the door with three red roses sent by my religion teacher, who knew I was struggling with alcohol. When I freaked out three weeks before my wedding, my mom called to tell me that the rose bush I had planted in her front yard, which had produced only three or four buds in the last five years, was blossoming with over two hundred roses. And when I went into premature labor with my second child, I received so many roses dropped off by visitors that my husband and I named our baby Katherine Rose.

Forget NFL

He lives in Cincinnati, so that probably explains his view (Bengals haven’t been all that hot lately) and I don’t share his view– I really like the NFL (Jaguars and Bucs), but I found this humorous, especially his reference to the Swamp where he found a great deal for parking his car. From USA Today and Paul Daugherty:

I like the Southeastern Conference. The SEC is so much of what football is about, the rest of the country should request permission to play the game.

I like going to Tuscaloosa and seeing Bear Bryant’s face on the big board, mumbling something understood best by those who read lips. What’d he say?

I like The Grove at Ole Miss, which on Saturdays in the fall is what heaven must look like for single guys.

I even like the Ugas. All of them, I through VII. I like the mausoleum at the entrance to Georgia’s Sanford Stadium, where the first six Ugas are laid to rest. I like the ceremonial “passing of the bone,” when new Uga supplants old Uga.

I like The Swamp, at Florida, where one year $10 got me a parking spot in a front yard, and a beer. Park and beer. Why hasn’t this taken off nationally?

And then they play the games. I like the games.

Every game matters in college football. In the NFL, wake me up for the conference title games. As Herbstreit says, “Chiefs and Rams, Sunday at 1? Come on.”

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