"[The apostles] made their way through Phoenicia and Samaria, telling everyone about the conversion of the Gentiles as they went." —Acts 15:3
Instead of telling the Phoenicians and Samaritans about the Church bickering in Antioch (Acts 15:2), the apostles told them about the conversion of the Gentiles. These apostles spoke from the abundance of their hearts (Lk 6:45) and what filled their hearts was the joy of Jesus in heaven over the conversion of repentant sinners (Lk 15:7, 10). The ongoing church dissension and controversy, while important enough to cause their trip to Jerusalem, was not absorbing the hearts of the apostles. Their minds were fixed on what was above rather than what was on earth (Col 3:1ff). Since the Lord in heaven finds more joy in the conversion of one sinner, the hearts of the apostles were focused on conversion and on finding ways to please Jesus (see Ps 104:34).
How many times have you heard conversations about the conversions taking place in your parish RCIA programs or soup kitchens? Now, how many times have you heard conversations focused on internal church squabbles? Repent of desiring to talk about church dissensions, strife, discord, and controversies (see 1 Tm 6:4). Allow God to prune away any spirit of dissension and disunity. Remain in Jesus (Jn 15:4), Who came to seek and save the lost (Lk 19:10), and bear "much fruit" of evangelization and conversion (Jn 15:8).
Prayer: Father, help me to "say only the good things" people "need to hear, things that will really help them" (Eph 4:29).
Promise: "He who lives in Me and I in him, will produce abundantly, for apart from Me you can do nothing." —Jn 15:5
Praise: When conversations drift toward criticism of fellow Church members, Wanda tactfully guides the talk to other topics.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
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Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 9, 2009
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