It is 4th May 2018. It is the First Friday of the month dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The readings are from Acts 15:22-31; and the Gospel from John 15:12-17. In most of the countries, people are broadly categorized as citizens, residents, resident aliens, and aliens. When we consider someone as an alien, we treat them accordingly in our outlook and in subtle relationships. Similar situation arose in the early Church too. Some wanted to consider the non-Jews as the resident-aliens even though they were baptised in the Church like anyone else. To give a direction and the teaching on the matter, the Council in Jerusalem gathered, debated and discern the way forward. That is what we have as the first reading today. The Holy Spirit guided the Church to reject any type of division that would threaten the Oneness and unity of the Church. The Decree of the Jerusalem Council insisted that everyone is equal by the virtue of the Sacrament of Baptism and everyone is the citizen of the kingdom of God and therefore there is no more aliens or resident aliens in the Church. The Apostolic delegates went in persons namely Barsappas and Silas along with Barnabas and Paul to the Church of Antioch to share the decision of the Church. The Church firmly and unwavering teaches us that the Church is One, Holy, Apostolic and Catholic. We believe it but do we promote the same in our subtle relationships with one another and the way we treat one another in the Church? Or are we having our own secret agenda to run our churches mingled with racism, tribalism, groupism, and elitism? The responsorial Psalm praises, “I will thank you, Lord, among the people.” (Ps.56:10). The Gospel invites us to love one another as Jesus loved us. “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.” (Jn.15:16). As Jesus invites us to be His friends without any conditions whatsoever, so let our friendship with the other Christian brethren have any limits. As Jesus laid down His life for the friendship, and so may we prove to the world that through love and sacrifice we make our friends. May God help us to unite all people because of our faith in Jesus. May you have a good day and God bless you.

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