Discernment: Transparency with Others
The first reading of today’s liturgy, Acts 15: 7-21, teaches us the importance of being transparent in our discernment of God’s will in our daily lives. Paul and Barnabas are confronted by other Jews concerning the issue of circumcision, believing that any Gentile becoming a believer, a Christian, must be required to be circumcised. Yet, God had already baptized them with the Holy Spirit and brought their faith to fruition in proclaiming the Good News and working signs and wonders among the people. To settle the dispute and gain clarity as to what God’s will might be in this instance, Paul and Barnabas go to Jerusalem to meet with the Apostles and the presbyters. They explain their dilemma, the dispute and confusion, the insistence of other Jews that the Gentiles be circumcised and the fact that the new believers have been baptized by God Himself and that they are performing wonders and signs of the power of the resurrection. Why, they ask, should we place the burden of circumcision upon them and other Mosaic laws?
In our discernment, we, too, need to be transparent with persons both in authority and with those who share our everyday concerns. Clarity comes from transparency, from being honest and open with appropriate others.