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The early Church was hierarchical.
15th May 2020 • The Furnace • Archdiocese of Sydney
00:00:00 00:02:30

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Friday, May 15th, 2020

We hear all kinds of things about the early Church.  That things were simpler back then.  There was no hierarchy.  There were just small independent house churches in a loose union with each other.   Their main feature was their local community life.  These sound like nice things.  But they come from the 1960s - not from the early Church.

That’s what today’s first reading tells us.  The first reading should know: it was written by a member of the early Church describing what he saw around him.  And what he saw was hierarchy: as he says, “The apostles and elders decided”.  There was a common communion of doctrine and practice: as he says, “you are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols; from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. Avoid these, and you will do what is right.”  They were radical in giving their life for Christ: as he says “men we highly respect who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”  And they obeyed with joy letters of apostolic authority: “they summoned the whole community and delivered the letter. The community read it and were delighted with the encouragement it gave them.”  

And of course they did all these things.  Because they are not bad.  They are gifts - given by Jesus to keep his Church existing, and not collapsing, incarnate and real, and not just vague.

Let us pray:

“Grant us, Lord, we pray, that, being rightly conformed to the paschal mysteries, what we celebrate in joy may protect and save us with perpetual power. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.”