Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 15:14-21; Luke 16:1-8)
In the adult fairy tale The Little Prince the fox teaches the little boy several valuable lessons. One of these concerns customs or rites. They bring a regularity to life so that one can be free from constant stress. In today's first reading taken from the end of the Letter to the Romans St. Paul assures his readers that he will respect their established customs.
The church community at Rome has at least some Jewish converts. Paul himself was not part of their conversion. It only can be speculated who evangelized them – perhaps an apostle from Jerusalem? In any case Paul will not take the credit. Nor, he implies, do the original evangelizers have to worry that Paul will impose himself in their territory in the future. Paul explicitly says that he is an apostle to gentiles preaching only in places where the gospel has never been heard.
We may not be comfortable with all Church customs. For example, we may not like singing at mass or being told that we must be married in a church. Nevertheless, like Paul we should willingly submit to such customs. They are designed to keep peace in the Church. As we want to live in peace, we try to keep peace with others.