Commentary on the Gospel of
“Decision of the Holy Spirit and of us”; “you are my friends.”
- Guided by the Holy Spirit
- We are one in the Lord
- Friends of Jesus
Let’s approach this reflection by pairing three couplets from the first reading and the Gospel:
- “upset you with their teachings”; “this is my commandment”
Right from the Old Testament, God’s Commandments communicate God’s will for His children, namely that they live fraternally, in mutual understanding. On the other hand, when we project our own teachings’, we upset each other, create tension and uneasiness among ourselves! We are therefore reminded to stick to the Lord’s teachings; the Gospel truths.
- “and disturbed your peace of mind”; “love one another”
Our Lord who has come not to abolish but to fulfil the Law; he promotes this fraternity. He says to us love one another. When we heed the call of the Lord’s commandment, the fruits of fraternity abide with us: joyful service, mutual encouragement, fraternal sharing etc. But what obtains when, through our teachings, we promote our own ideals, believes, interests? We end up robbing each other of their peace of mind. Discerning the will of God together, ‘the Holy Spirit and us’, remains the Christian virtue that guides us in conflict resolution. It regenerates trust, respect and love for each other.
Bonding is an integral element of a progressive, true friendship. We see this develop between our Lord Jesus Christ and his disciples. From servants to friends and (post-resurrection) to brothers! It is an amazing development!! This friendly cum fraternal spirit now animates their invocation and worship of God: with deeply rooted conviction! Bonded in friendship!! They extend the same to other Christians, the new converts.
True friends tell each other the truth, and now we tell you the truth that aligns with your faith expression; the truth that enables you to focus on your only object of faith, namely God, and not dangle between ‘gods’: “Refrain from meat sacrificed to idols.” Sacrifice normally accompanies worship of God or ‘a god’, as the case may be. Generally speaking, initiates consume the victim of the sacrifice, they eat the meat of the animal sacrificed! Eating the meat is an integral part of participating in the worship. So, ordinarily speaking, the apostles and presbyters ask the Christians: do not participate in worship of idols! This is a restating of the first commandment, thou shall not worship any other god; a profession of faith. How important is the first article of the creed to you: “I believe in one God?” How much does this profession penetrate every decision you make, everything you do?