“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” ― Frederick Douglass: (1818 – 1895: was an African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman)
Scripture Text: (GAL 2:1-2, 7-14)
Brothers and sisters:
After fourteen years I again went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas,
taking Titus along also.
I went up in accord with a revelation,
and I presented to them the Gospel that I preach to the Gentiles–
but privately to those of repute–
so that I might not be running, or have run, in vain.
On the contrary,
when they saw that I had been entrusted with the Gospel to the uncircumcised,
just as Peter to the circumcised,
for the one who worked in Peter for an apostolate to the circumcised
worked also in me for the Gentiles,
and when they recognized the grace bestowed upon me,
James and Cephas and John,
who were reputed to be pillars,
gave me and Barnabas their right hands in partnership,
that we should go to the Gentiles
and they to the circumcised.
Only, we were to be mindful of the poor,
which is the very thing I was eager to do.
And when Cephas came to Antioch,
I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong.
For, until some people came from James,
he used to eat with the Gentiles;
but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself,
because he was afraid of the circumcised.
And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him,
with the result that even Barnabas
was carried away by their hypocrisy.
But when I saw that they were not on the right road
in line with the truth of the Gospel,
I said to Cephas in front of all,
“If you, though a Jew,
are living like a Gentile and not like a Jew,
how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
How do we handle Church leaders who work against God's plans? Do we have both the passion and the compassion that Paul had to courageously call attention to the problem, with the same level of respect for their authority? True respect is based on love, not fear, and an understanding that God is calling us to work together in accomplishing the work of his kingdom.
Peter's hypocrisy came from fear; he overcame it through his respect for Paul. Do we have the humility of Peter to listen to and obey what the Lord is telling us through others?
Purification is not fun, and no one likes to deal with the consequences of speaking up about the need for purification, but we are each responsible for doing everything we can, in mutual respect and love for one another, with bold passion, to strengthen the Church's holiness.