Homily, 6th Sunday of Easter, Year C

Acts 15:1-2,22-29
Apocalypse 21:10-14,22-23
John 14:23-29

Today, there are many self acclaimed Christians teachers who teach erroneously, but from where comes their teachings? If these are really knowledgeable Christians, and members of the Church of Christ. Then they should know that the Church of Christ gets her teachings from Sacred Tradition which includes the Sacred Scripture and the Sacred tradition.

This is exactly what played out in the first reading, Acts 15:1-2,22-29 where some people were teaching what the Church didn’t teach. Precisely that “Unless you have yourselves circumcised in the tradition of Moses you cannot be saved.” This caused great disturbance in early church as it happens today when wrong teachings emerge.

But, the apostles who were there during the time of Jesus and heard all he taught and saw how He did, corrected these wrong teachings. Remember, it was after everyone must have given his/her opinion. The decision came with this assertion, “we and the Holy spirit have decided,” this meant after a prayerful examination of everything with what Jesus taught and deed. We must be ready to listen to one another.

Every teaching in the Church must be x-rayed by the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles considering the sense of faith of the people of God.Why?


If we are Christians, we must adhere meaningfully to Christ’s teachings, for it was by this adherence that our forefathers in faith were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). This implies that they were doing and following the ways of Christ Jesus. Christ therefore became their identity; Christians. They got their identity from the Word of God.

These teachings and deeds of Jesus was made clear by the Holy Spirit to the apostles as Jesus promised in the Gospel John 14:23-29 ,and precisely (John 14:26), that “…the Holy Spirit…will teach them everything and remind them of all He has told them.” Therefore, the teachings of Jesus didn’t end with Jesus, but continued with the Apostles who with the help of the Holy spirit expounded on the teachings of Jesus for better understanding of future disciples like us. This Holy Spirit was given to the Church in the Apostles.

Moreover, because of the involvement of the Holy Spirit, both the words of Jesus, and the teachings of the Apostles remain the Word of God because, they were both inspired by the same spirit which led Jesus Christ in his whole earthly ministry. Hence, both are from the same source.

Moreso, these teachings of Jesus Christ and expounded by the apostles through the help of the Holy Spirit is called the “Tradition.” Tradition is something that is handed down from generation to generation. From this Tradition comes the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred tradition, because both were handed down to us from generations before us. The first Tradition is represented by capital letter “T”, to diffrenciate it from the second tradition with small letter “t.”

The Sacred Scripture is therefore the Written Word of God handed down to us from Christian generations before us, which contains also both the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostles under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The tradition (small t) is the Unwritten Word of God handed down from Christian generations before us,, which contains the deeds, teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles under the inspiration of the Holy spirit.

This is why the apostles had to intervene in the erroneous teaching(Acts 15:1) of some people in the early church, examined it with the teachings of Jesus, and taught the people the correct thing with the help of the Holy spirit. Thus Peter said, “it has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials: 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.”

Hence, it means that:

*The Word of God is contained in the Sacred tradition and in the Sacred Scriptures. The Word of God is not only the Sacred Scriptures but also the sacred tradition.

*All the Word of God is not contained in the Sacred Scriptures as even John’s gospel confirms that, “there was much else that Jesus did; if it were written down in detail, I do not suppose the world itself would hold all the books that would be written.”

*The Church came first before the Sacred Scriptures, that is, the Sacred Scriptures came or was born from the Church, but the the Word of God in it’s entirety(Sacred Scriptures and sacred tradition) came before the Church.

*The Church came from the Word of God (Sacred Scriptures and sacred tradition). The Word of God gave birth to the Church. The Word of God supersedes the Church.
*The Sacred Scriptures can only be properly understood within the context of Church because it’s the faith practice of the Church, otherwise it becomes a novel or any other ordinary book.
Therefore, the Church cannot do without the Word of God both in the sacred scripture and in the sacred tradition, otherwise she looses her identity.

Be reminded that the decision of the Apostles in the first reading during the Jerusalem council came from those seeking clarity on the right teachings of the Church, precisely Paul and Barnabas. This means that we must always seek clarity in matters of our faith whenever the need arises for the good of everyone.
From where then is the teachings you hear coming from, and from where do you get your teachings?

As Christians, we need the Holy Spirit who directed John in the book of revelation, the elders of the Church built on the twelve apostles as the twelve foundations in the same revelation, and knowledgeable people for direction if we want peace and to abide in Christ Jesus, and truly understand and apply the Word of God.

©Fr. Henry Charles Umelechi

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