Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter

The Christian principles and values

Then the apostles and presbyters, in agreement with the whole church, decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas …This is the letter delivered by them: “The apostles and the presbyters, your brothers, to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia of Gentile origin: greetings. Since we have heard that some of our number (who went out) without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind,  we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul … ‘It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, Acts 15,22-28

Today, the Acts of the Apostles tell us about the council of Jerusalem, the first one organized by the church to discern whether the faith in Jesus Christ and baptism were sufficient to obtain salvation or it was necessary first to become Jews first and then to get circumcised. In the end, Paul and Barnabas’s position prevailed: in order to be Christian it is enough to believe the message of the gospel and be baptized. The discernment was ratified through a letter the participants wrote to the brethren of the church of Antioch, which begins with these words: “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us”. Other councils followed that first one; in each of them, the guidance of the Holy Spirit was quite clear. Fifty years have still to pass after the Second Vatican Council, and the church is already talking of the necessity to call for another one, probably on the Christian principles and values, some of which are much discussed in today’s society. Let’s see what they are. As regards the relationship between man and God, the Christian principles are as follows: God is his own being, he has created everything, therefore also the man, for love, and he has elevated the man to the supernatural state, making him his son. In response, the man must adore, thank and pray God and do everything possible to comply with the project has been entrusted with, using all the talents he has received. As for the essence of man: every human being is a person from conception to death, both meant as natural; every person must respect the personal dignity of all human beings, which means that the virtues of justice and love must be pursued. With regard to the family: the base is a pair of parents, that is, two different and complementary beings – a man and a woman – who love each other, freely choose one another, get married publicly, in a reciprocal donation which lasts all life long, for their happiness and for the procreation and education of an offspring. The main purpose of marriage is the union of the couple, procreation is a consequence. As for things, including animals: they are to the complete service of man and of all people, respecting the natural hierarchy and service ability of things, i.e. in the respect of ecology. These are the Christian principles and values.

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