It is Federal Election Day in Australia. We are all commanded to cast a ballot, to make a vote. Sadly, and unlike the first major voting platform read about in the account given in Acts, its conclusion read today, our decision won’t include, “It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and us…” Even in the so-called Theocratic States, the Holy Spirit does not get a hearing.
So, in our church, we must be different!
Phase two of the new Plenary Council is about to begin. Hopefully the members will allow the Holy Spirit to be heard.
One continuing challenge for our Church is being addressed in the reading from Acts today. What truths are the essential truths that all the different cultures of the earth must hold and practise to claim to be disciples of the Risen Lord? That answer has taken years to define and express. Hence, our Creed and several expressions of those truths.
What then follows is as important: how do we put these truths into practise?
And ever so quietly (after many chapters of debate) this first great meeting of the Church dropped the need of circumcision. It was considered by the followers of Moses to be essential. They demanded circumcision for the so-called pagans, as well as Baptism. Not so said the Assembly (and, as always, some no longer walked the new way).
Here at home we face similar challenges. Our inherited traditional Irish church has to learn to live in harmony with the faithful followers of the Risen Lord who come here, so many as refugees, but with different Catholic practices.
It is not a question of who is right and who is wrong, but can we learn from each other and, like our early ancestors, “not lay any burdens beyond these essentials”? A big task in rapidly changing cultures.
We today are not left lonely!
“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit
Whom the Father will send in my name
Will teach you everything”.
Our prayer this week is a constant “Come Holy Spirit”.