Back in January I started a “Chapter a Day Challenge” with some friends online to read a chapter of the Scriptures every day. When she was a kid, her dad use to say “A chapter a day keeps the devil away.” I thought, “well, I want the devil to stay away, so I’ll give this a go.” We started with Proverbs, then read through the 4 Gospels, and beginning May 1st we ventured into Acts. (Romans is next.)
So throughout the season of Easter I’ve been reading a chapter of Acts each day and it has begun to coincide with the daily readings from Acts, more or less. Each day as I dive into the formation of the early Church I can’t help but think that the problems they had are similar to the ones we’re having today.
Today’s reading is about circumcision, no one’s favorite topic. But the point is more that some “followers of The Way” believe it to be “absolutely essential for salvation” while others just don’t. Who’s right?
Although in the Catholic Church today we don’t equate circumcision with a requirement for salvation, we have similar conversations about other, just as innocuous, topics.
What makes “good enough” to be called a Catholic? Are you kneeling the whole time during the consecration or resting your bottom on the edge of your pew? Do you receive communion on the tongue, in the hand, kneeling, standing, after a bow, or following a genuflection? Are you praying enough Rosaries? Reading enough Scripture? Interceeding with enough Saints? Have you fasted enough days this week? Was your Lenten fast ‘hard enough’? Do you show up for Mass 2 minutes early or 15 minutes early? Do you wear a veil? Are you dressed ‘nice enough’ for Mass?
As you read through that list it feels pretty petty, I’m sure. As I was writing it I thought “those are such silly things.” But the truth of it is, I heard these conversations all the time. And those are just the questions about particular devotions.
What strikes me most about this reading from Acts is that these fights have been happening since the beginning of the Church. And also that they take away from the actual important work of “sharing the Good News and making disciples” that we are called to do.
We’re caught up in what this person looks like, not if they’ve had an encounter with Christ and are working on their relationship with Him through the Sacraments and prayer. Let’s get back to what really matters in our faith. Focus on Christ. Go where He’s leading you. Find a way to share that Good News with others.
Today’s reflection first appeared on Carpe Verbum.