Bible Corner

The second reading this week is from Paul’s letter to the Galatians. He is writing about our being freed by Christ and standing firm and not submitting to the yoke of slavery again. As well as quoting the second great commandment — love your neighbour — he calls on us to be careful and serve one another, in works of love. So the love we share in Christ is one that leads to action and is not just a passive love. St Paul is never afraid to be blunt and one of those moments is present here “If you go snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces, you had better watch or you will destroy the whole community”. There has always been a danger of the differences between believers becoming the source of discontent and from there leading to breakdown of relationships or break-up in the sense of church divisions. The Great Schism in the 11th century led to the divide between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The 1517 pinning of the theses on the door of a church by Martin Luther saw the beginning of the Protestant Reformation and led to wars and persecutions for many years. Think of the Irish Martyrs and St. Oliver Plunkett as examples of people who suffered for the faith due to the ‘snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces. It happens in different ways within our Church as well — and we need to be aware that for us there is one Lord who asks us to love God and our neighbour as ourselves, who teaches us to pray, who leads by example, who is the Lord who came to serve and not to be served. In the Catholic Church we all have different ways that we express our faith, but ultimately, it is the same faith in the same God, revealed to us by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit. That unity of faith is important for us to ensure that we give witness to the world we live in that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. At this time in the Church’s journey there are many questions arising. Let us pray that we will live through this time without ‘snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces’. The secular world is trying to do that to us already — we don’t need to help.