By Pamela Patnode

 

Continue Learning

 

When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church.” ~ Acts 15:4

“I wish Pope Francis would clarify this situation,” the woman lamented to me. “I sometimes wonder if there is an answer or if we just figure this out on our own.”

This woman is not alone in wondering about the Church’s teaching on a variety of issues. Many people today have questions about divorce and remarriage, birth control, gender ideology, climate change, the Eucharist, immigration, bioethics, and more. Fortunately, when we have questions about the faith, today’s readings give us a guide for the steps we ought to take.

In the first reading from today, we are told that Paul and Barnabas are discussing the faith with others, and questions arise. As a result of their discussions, which included “dissension and debate,” it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and others would take the questions back to Jerusalem to discuss the matter with the Apostles and the presbyters. In other words, to find the answers to the questions that plagued them, they returned to the authority of the Church for clarification. Not only did the Church not rebuke them for their concerns, questions, and doubts, but it also said that “they were welcomed by the Church.” Moreover, in the gospel reading for today, Jesus reminds us that if we remain in Him and His word remains in us, then we will bear much fruit.

It is healthy and good to ask questions about the Church and her teachings. Indeed, we want to be continual learners of the faith. However, it is important to discern where we turn for answers when questions arise. Today’s readings remind us that the Church is where to turn when seeking answers. Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the writings of popes and Church fathers are the sources that will enable us to remain in Christ—and therefore bear fruit.

Although news outlets today often share only part of the story, we can be confident that the Church has the answers we seek—answers that lead us to the one who is Truth.

 

Prayer:

Lord, when I question, when I doubt, when I worry about the faith or a teaching of the Church, may I go with rejoicing to the house of the Lord, and be reminded that You have the words of everlasting life.

Call to Action:

Commit to learning something new about the faith each month. Listen to Catholic radio or a Catholic podcast, read a book, sign up for a small group or Bible study at your parish, or read an article about the faith. Be intentional about continuing to learn about the faith.

 

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