Our first reading is an account from the first council of the church.
In John, Chapter 16, we read where Jesus said, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now, but when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will lead you to all truth. “ Jesus was there saying that entirely new problems would arise for the Apostles, and there was no way he could give them directions in advance. He said that at the proper time, if they came together, the Holy Spirit would direct them to the right solutions to their problems.
The Church, in response to that advanced warning from Jesus, over the years and over the centuries, came together when major new problems arose. The apostles and their successors ask the Holy Spirit to guide them to the right solutions.
The gathering in today’s first reading was the first council of the church. (Jumping ahead to the end of it, the Apostles published the conclusions they reached by saying, “It seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us to place no further burden on the Gentiles converts.)
Today’s account of the first Council of Jerusalem begins by saying there was much debate. Then Peter swayed the whole number of those attending . He led them to deciding that people could become Christians without first becoming converts to Judaism. Finally, the most revered man there, the Apostles James, a cousin of Jesus, swayed the whole number to saying that they should not put the burden of observing kosher on Gentile converts to Christianity.
The Council of Trent, held from 1545 to 1563 was the Eighteen full Church Council. Attending were only bishops from four European countries where Catholicism was the only legal religion. With little or no debate those bishops approved the decrees written by two Jesuit priests.
Vatican II was the Church’s twentieth full council. Meeting from 1962 to1965, bishops from a hundred countries took part. Over four years they had opportunity to voice the views the Holy Spirit had suggested to them.