28th October – Feast of Apostles Simon and Jude

Today’s gospel for the feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude [Lk 6:12-16] deals with how Jesusjesus-praying selected his co-workers who would also continue his mission after the Ascension. We are told that he spent the whole night in prayer before making his decision. Big decision, big prayer! When he made his selection, he chose 12 individuals, who would be the 12 Patriarchs of the New Israel or the New People of God. In this he chose 12 men.

When St John Paul II was asked about the ordination of women, he said that he had no authority to grant such a request. This was NOT because women aren’t first class citizens or members of the Church, but because the ordination of women would be contrary to the express Will of God as manifest in Jesus’ decision. As Pope he is a servant of Jesus’ way of leading the Church and its mission.

Yesterday I spoke of some personal concern regarding the Church’s future fidelity to Jesus’ teaching on the right use of sexuality (the Sixth Commandment). Yesterday’s Mass reading addressed this matter in a very clear and direct way with very little wriggle room:

First reading
Ephesians 4:32-5:8 ©

Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.

Try, then, to imitate God as children of his that he loves and follow Christ loving as he loved you, giving himself up in our place as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God. Among you there must be not even a mention of fornication in any of its forms [technically ‘fornication’ refers to a single person having sexual relations but in this context it would also refer to ‘adultery’ which refers to a married personal having sexual relations with somebody other than their spouse] or impurity [sexual mal-practices more grave than fornication/adultery], or promiscuity [serial sexual liasons]: this would hardly become the saints! There must be no coarseness, or salacious talk and jokes-all this is wrong for you; raise your voices in thanksgiving instead. For you can be quite certain that nobody who actually indulges in fornication or impurity or promiscuity – which is worshipping a false god – can inherit anything of the kingdom of God. Do not let anyone deceive you with empty arguments: it is for this loose living that God’s anger comes down on those who rebel against him. Make sure that you are not included with them. You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord; be like children of light.