The First Reading shows us the dynamics of the early Church and how the Apostles adapted to the Lord’s revelation. We must remember that Christians were considered as part of the Jewish religion during that time. However, with the revelation Peter received from Jesus, Peter allowed Gentiles to be baptized and be considered as believers of Jesus. This is why the Catholic Church believes the Holy Spirit continues to guide the Church in her decisions and teaching. We also see the preeminence of Peter in the early Church because the opening up of Christianity to Gentiles was revealed to Peter. Peter’s explanation to the church leaders also silenced their criticism. With this incident, we see that Christ continues to speak through the Apostles, specifically Peter, consistently. While there are today, many unfaithful clergy who teach error, Catholics can always go back to what the Church has consistently taught through the ages.
This consistent teaching of the Church through the ages is the Magisterium of the Church. In the Gospel, Jesus said (the shepherd) calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought them out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. Jesus speaks through his shepherds, which in yesterday’s reading are those who willingly lay down their lives for their sheep. There are many shepherds today, who preach what they want. Who pretend to be the sheep. These are whom Jesus call thieves and bandits. Jesus describes them the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. These false prophets proclaim their own teaching. They teach so they can be popular or famous. Despite their external image of calmness, meekness and gentleness, their purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. This purpose is one of hate, despite what they say. We know these people because these are those who distort the consistent teaching of the Church through centuries.
Jesus said I came that they may have life, and hate it abundantly. Peter’s decision to baptize the centurion and his household in the First Reading, is one that gives life. It opens up the Gospel and life in Jesus to those who believe. Peter saw the Gentiles thirsting for God and he opened the door to them so they can know Jesus.
The feast today was established in the 5th century. It is devoted to our Lady of Good Counsel. Mary is the epitome of Good Counsel because she shows us how to act when confronted with things that confuse us: to treasure things in her heart and say Yes to God. The Magnificat shows us how we can do this when she said My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. For he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day forth, all generations will call me blessed, for the Lord has done great things for me, holy is his name.
Mary, praised the Lord. She lets God take control of her life, so he can save her. She sees herself as she is: a lowly servant and by doing so, she allowed God to work in her life to do great things.
When we are confused with what is being taught by false teachers, we come to Mary and learn from her. Take what we heart to our heart. Come to the Lord and let the Lord do what he wills.
Lord, give me wisdom. Teach me to discern true teaching and let me reject false teaching.