“They were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question.”
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 15:1-6)
In those days: Some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the Church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, reporting the conversion of the Gentiles, and they gave great joy to all the brethren. When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the Church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up, and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the Law of Moses.” The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 122: 1-2.3-4ab.4cd-5 (R. see1)
R/. Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
I rejoiced when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
And now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem. R.
Jerusalem is built as a city
bonded as one together.
It is there that the tribes go up,
he tribes of the Lord. R.
For Israel’s witness it is
to praise the name of the Lord.
There were set the thrones for judgement,
the thrones of the house of David. R.
ALLELUIA John 15:4a.5b
Alleluia. Abide in me, and I in you, says the Lord; he who abides in me bears much fruit. Alleluia.
“He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 15:1-8)
At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.”
The Gospel of the Lord
In Judaism the Abrahamic covenant known as Brit bein HaBatarim was concretized in the circumcision of Abraham and his male offering of both natural birth and adoption (Gen 12-17). Obviously, Christianity come out of the Jewish culture and religion; hence some Jews who had become Christians felt that Christianity was a mere continuation of Judaism. This misunderstanding led to controversy, resulting in the First Council in Jerusalem. Paul and Barnabas made it clear to all that in Christ there is no superiority of one race over the other. We are one despite our cultural differences. Christ, the true Vine, is the one Mediator and Redeemer of humankind. In Him we live, move and have our being. May we promote that oneness, knowing that we share the same origin in God, who is the Father of all!