It was St. Paul who began the process of defining a question with which Christians struggle even today: How much of the Old Testament Law must we observe?
It has never been a simple process. One only has to read the Acts of the Apostles and St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians to see clearly conflicting versions of the relationship between St. Paul and the Apostles in Jerusalem. And this is not bad.
We make a mistake when we believe that peace is the absence of conflict. Friction is an essential part of human existence. Getting out of bed, bathing, eating, brushing your teeth all require friction. And on the other side, most of us have faced the terrifying nearly frictionless experience of tires on ice. It is not a peaceful moment..
Yes, St. Peter was chosen by God to lead the Church. But it was the friction between St. Peter and St. Paul that propelled the Church forward in her mission to all peoples. It was a friction rooted in faith, a friction rooted in love and respect.
The Church is facing enormous challenges in the 21st Century and the answers are not simple. Can we with the same love and respect challenge one another in the Church and in the challenge and response hear and heed the voice of the Holy Spirit.