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2 Timothy 4:3. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires.
How do you tell when the teaching you follow is your own desire and when it is God’s? This and other scripture passages have been used to bludgeon people for years. “Your doctrine isn’t orthodox,” we say. “Your doctrine is false. Mine, however…”
A colleague once said God is always expanding the circle. Jesus invites outsiders into his meals, heals people he shouldn’t even be seen with. God blesses Rahab the prostitute and Ruth the foreigner. The Prodigal Father welcomes his prodigal son back with open arms. God’s preference is for more people to be included, for more people to be loved. So, said my colleague, whenever the circle is shrinking, where people are being excluded or disliked, God is not served.
It’s so easy to believe that what we like is what God likes. And sometimes that’s true. But more often, God is doing something that we hadn’t thought of with people we aren’t sure about. Our willingness to open our circle to them is a measure of our faith.
Today the Church remembers Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles.