Father Ajamir Souza Silva: In the spirit of the Synod

In this Easter timeThe church continues to provide “Farewell words” at Isa (cf. Jn 13, 31-16, 33), placed in Last Supperbut must be understood as the words of the glorious Jesus The Lord has risen And Hayat addresses his community, and opens her eyes to her present in history, since her exodus from this world to the Father (cf. Jn 13, 1).

The phrase “new” is very present in the teachings of the Young Man of Nazareth as well as in the writings of the “New Testament” congregation: New Jerusalem, New Commandment, New Distinctions, New Wine in New Wine, etc. A new understanding of God, the church, society, politics, man, life, death, etc…

Today’s first readingActs 15, 1-2, 22-29) brings with it a specific issue that the first Christian groups faced, and even in a climate of tension they knew how to guarantee communion and brotherhood, it is the question of circumcision.

The text says: “Some men who came down from Judea taught the brothers from Antioch: “Unless you are circumcised according to the law of Moses, you cannot be saved” (v. 1).

The fact is that the church grew and expanded and that many Christians came from the lands that Judaism called a pagan people or people. They were somewhat more open, more flexible and, therefore, more open to understanding the “new”.

On the other side, Jews converted to Christianity, but brought their ancient religious practices from the Mosaic religious teaching, which is why they were called Judeo-Jews.

This is not a minor problem, a purely disciplinary measure or custom, but something as basic as knowing whether salvation comes through circumcision and observance of the Jewish “Torah”, or through Christ only and exclusively.

In other words: Is Jesus Christ the only Lord and Savior, or are things other than Him necessary to reach God and obtain from Him the grace of salvation? How many times have we also heard a teaching like this, magic formulas that say they take us to heaven.

The Christian community in Antioch is not sure which way to go. Paul and Barnabas believe that Christ is sufficient. But the “Jews” – Christians of Jewish origin, who maintain Jewish traditions – argue that the rituals prescribed by the “Torah” are also necessary for salvation.

Then it was decided to send a delegation to Jerusalem to consult with the apostles and elders in this regard. This is the essence of the Jerusalem Council.

Pope Francis has called us to move from the experience of tyranny, from the clergy, from legality to the experience of the Council. It is necessary to hear what the Spirit says to the Church: “He who has an ear, understand what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2, 7). This is the new education that the New Testament brings as a pastoral standard to the communities of the Risen One.

This new experience usually creates a church that is no longer rigid in mores, ceremonies, rituals, and principles: “The Holy Spirit and we have decided not to impose any other obligations on you” (Acts 15 v. 28). A new force is needed, without ceasing to believe and live in necessities, lest we, too, in our society, are not drawn into heavy burdens theoretically presented in a beautiful way, but …

Synods, ecclesiastical councils, our pastoral meetings, our groups, and the entire process of formation must move the Church to live the Gospel today, and not miss mere teachings and customs such as the Judaization of the Jews. Risen leaders must open up to new visions and rid themselves of the heavy burdens that oppress people and groups.

It is not enough to build synagogues, homes of formation, and centers of Christian education if we still view Christianity as the Judaization of Jews. We have listened to this for a long time, but it seems that our method does not free us from the new, because for many the “new” is scandalous …

In our societies, we need people like the Angel of the Second Reading (Ab 21,10) who move us, remove us, go further, and make us see new things, a new church community, a new city and a new world. Where everyone commits to fulfilling God’s dream: “New Heaven and New Earth” (Revelation 21, 21).

“You have heard what was said, but I tell you.” (Matthew 5, 17). A disciple of Jesus must distinguish what is old and what is new. He knows that at the heart of catechesis is the commandment of love as the starting point for all theological, doctrinal, moral and educational contemplations. It is no coincidence that Jesus asked Peter about the legality of loving the Master, because caring for the flock requires the Church to experience love, because he who loves takes care of him.

The Evangelist John says that he who loves Jesus and listens to him, identifies with him, that is, lives like him, in surrendering his life for the benefit of mankind … God’s love makes us cruel, but it makes us human. Now, to live in this dynamic is to be constantly in communion with Jesus and the Father. The Father and Jesus, who are one, will establish their abode in the disciple. They will live together in the intimate relationship of a new family (John 14:23-24).

But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything(Verse 26). The function of the Paraclete is to “teach” and “remember” all that Jesus suggested. It is a dynamic presence that will help the disciples by constantly reminding them of Jesus’ teachings and helping them to read Jesus’ suggestions in light of the new challenges the world presents to them.

In this way, the disciples will be able to continue traveling in history, the “way” of Jesus, with dynamic fidelity to his suggestions. The Holy Spirit ensures that the church can continue on this “path” of love and surrender, united to Jesus and the Father.

The last part of the text proposed to us contains the promise of “peace” (verse 27). Desire for “peace” (“shalom”) was the usual greeting upon arrival and departure. However, in this context, the salutation is not a trivial farewell (“I do not give it to you as the world gives it”), because Jesus will not be missed. What Jesus intended was to instill serenity in the anxious disciples in the face of resistance, misunderstanding, and closure.

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