Acts, Chapter 15, Verse 9
He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts.
This verse is about the Jewish practice of circumcision. Were the Greek Christians required to be circumcised? The apostles determined that the leaders should not put obstacles to commitment. They should ask only the compromises needed to enable Christian Jews to associate in table fellowship with non-Jewish Christians.
Are you circumcised or uncircumcised? Today we might divide ourselves as the early Christians did: Are you a democrat or a republican. At this point what does it matter; no matter the election results we must have faith that God’s purpose will be done. We must purify our hearts and render unto Caesar (New President) our heartfelt determination to serve the Nation by living our catholic beliefs within the political system with a willingness to compromise wherever possible except in matters the breech the covenant of God.
From a sermon by Saint Leo the Great, pope
My dear brethren, there is no doubt that the Son of God took our human nature into so close a union with himself that one and the same Christ is present, not only in the firstborn of all creation, but in all his saints as well. The head cannot be separated from the members, nor the members from the head. Not in this life, it is true, but only in eternity will God be all in all, yet even now he dwells, whole and undivided, in his temple the Church. Such was his promise to us when he said: See, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.
And so all that the Son of God did and taught for the world's reconciliation is not for us simply a matter of past history. Here and now we experience his power at work among us. Born of a virgin mother by the action of the Holy Spirit, Christ keeps his Church spotless and makes her fruitful by the inspiration of the same Spirit. In baptismal regeneration she brings forth children for God beyond all numbering. These are the sons of whom it is written: They are born not of blood, nor of the desire of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
In Christ Abraham's posterity is blessed, because in him the whole world receives the adoption of sons, and in him the patriarch becomes the father of all nations through the birth, not from human stock but by faith, of the descendants that were promised to him. From every nation on earth, without exception, Christ forms a single flock of those he has sanctified, daily fulfilling the promise he once made: I have other sheep, not of this fold, whom it is also ordained that I shall lead; and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
Although it was primarily to Peter that he said: Feed my sheep, yet the one Lord guides all the pastors in the discharge of their office and leads to rich and fertile pastures all those who come to the rock. There is no counting the the sheep who are nourished with his abundant love, and who are prepared to lay down their lives for the sake of the good shepherd who died for them.
But it is not only the martyrs who share in his passion by their glorious courage; the same is true, by faith, of all who are reborn through baptism. That is why we are to celebrate the Lord's paschal sacrifice with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. The leaven of our former malice is thrown out, and a new creature is filled and inebriated with the Lord himself. For the effect of our sharing in the body and blood of Christ is to change us into what we receive. As we have died with him, and have been buried and raised to life with him, so we bear him within us, both in body and in spirit, in everything we do.
United We Stand Divided We Fall-As a united nation together we can strive for excellence.
Examining the life of Wilma Rudolph who was one of the fastest women on earth and is John McCain’s example for the characteristic of excellence. It is good to reflect that excellence is not achieved alone Wilma achieve greatness because of the love and support of her family and because of the creativity of herself and her family. Having a creative mind is essential to making right judgments which will be the next step up in our study of character. Now would be a good time to review our progress so far and realize that for one to have a creative mind they must first be curious (Darwin), enthusiastic (Roosevelt); discerning (da Vinci), and filled with aspiration (Magellan) are essential to come to excellence.
McCain states that Wilma Rudolph:
Survived poverty, racism, and polio to become the fastest woman on earth and was known to journalists as La Gazelle Noire, the Black Gazelle and go on to win a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics.
Blanche and Eddie Rudolph had already welcomed nineteen children into the world when little Wilma arrived on June 23, 1940, two months ahead of schedule. Blanche had fallen down and almost immediately gone into labor. Weighing a little over four pounds at birth, Wilma Glodean Rudolph wasn’t expected to live long. That the newborn survived those first perilous weeks was an early indication of the strength she would employ to see herself safely through the many crises of her childhood. Blanche and Eddie were extraordinary parents, hardworking and devoted to their children. But with twenty-two children (two more were born after Wilma), and each parent holding more than one job, Eddie as a railroad porter and handyman, Blanche a laundress and housekeeper, it was hard to give much attention to any individual child. Wilma would need a lot of attention, and would have little prospect of finding much help outside her family. The family’s poverty and the injustices of the segregated South offered scant encouragement to the Rudolph’s as they looked to their community in rural Clarksville, Tennessee, for the care that their lively but chronically ill daughter needed. But they did the best they could; for as poor as they were, they were rich in virtue, and gave their struggling child the love and encouragement she needed to believe she might one day be a healthy, happy little girl. Wilma suffered measles, mumps, chicken pox, and the whooping cough before she was four years old. Colds and the flu constantly plagued her. She spent most of her early childhood in bed. Shortly before her fifth birthday, Wilma became very sick with scarlet fever and pneumonia in both her lungs. Again, she was not expected to survive. Her family covered her in blankets, plied her with the usual remedies, comforted her, and prayed. But the illness persisted. Even as the crisis began to abate, a strange symptom occurred that caused her worried family even greater alarm. Wilma’s left leg began to twist to one side. When her parents encouraged her to move it, she told them she couldn’t. The doctor was called, and after examining her briefly, he informed Eddie and Blanche that their daughter had been stricken with polio, for which there was then no known cure. If she survived, he warned them, she would never walk again. But walk she did. Her family saved her. Their constant encouragement and care helped Wilma to overcome her despair, and summon such a great quantity of strength and courage, and an almost superhuman power of concentration, that she would in time become known as their miracle child. She attributed those qualities to the great fortune of having a loving family. “The doctors told me I would never walk,” she wrote in her autobiography, “but my mother told me I would, so I believed my mother.” One day, as Wilma felt the onset of another illness, she decided she would begin to fight. “Enough! No more taking everything that comes along, no more drifting off, no more wondering.”
During the long years of her rehabilitation, when few outside her family ever believed that day would come, Wilma had developed into a young girl with extraordinary reserves of strength, and had learned to pursue goals that were beyond the reach of most people with a tremendous intensity of resolve and concentration. She was not just a normal, healthy kid. She was special, and she knew it. Now that she had beat the odds and learned to walk again, she decided to focus her formidable strength on becoming an athlete. There are four things necessary to excel at a sport, or anything, for that matter: skill, concentration, willingness to struggle, and love. When she was only sixteen, she made the American women’s track and field team in the 1956 Olympic Games, which were held in Melbourne, Australia. Then in 1960, she was the first American woman to win three gold medals. And she was, beyond dispute, the fastest woman on earth. The girl had beaten polio, poverty, and racism to become the greatest female athlete of her time, and one of the most beloved people in the world.
 The Collegeville Bible Commentary
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