Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts 11,1-18; Resp. Psalm: Ps42,2-3;43,3-4; Gosp. Accl.: Jn10,14; Gospel: Jn10,11-18
None of us can plan for God. None of us can determine how He is to act. No one can enlighten Him or add to His wisdom. As the heavens are higher above the earth, so far are His thoughts from our thoughts, so high are His ways from our ways.
God has His plans for His creation. God has His plan for each of us. No one can dictate to Him how He is to act, who He is to bless, and in what measure He is to do this. The early disciples of Jewish extraction did not understand this about God. They thought that salvation was intended for them alone. They did not remember the last command of our Lord that they should go out into the whole world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The Jewish Christians did not understand that those preached to would become believers. They criticized Peter for going to uncircumcised men and eating with them. They considered these men less believers because they were not circumcised and we're not strict observers of the Mosaic law and the tradition that flowed from it.
Peter had to answer them by pointing to an unforgettable experience he got from a revelatory dream he had. Peter also considered some things and people unclean before this dream episode. But the voice in the dream cautioned him that what God has cleansed must not be called common by men. That experience showed Peter clearly that it was the will of God that he should minister to the gentiles and accept them fully into the company of believers.
Peter's testimony in that instance silenced those who were objecting to his association with the gentiles and the uncircumcised. In fact after his testimony, all glorified God saying "then to the gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life."
Peter must have remembered the words of our Lord that He came that all may have life, and have it to the full. He must have remembered that His Master called Himself the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep. He must have remembered these words of our Lord: "And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd."
Peter must have realized that going by the words of the Lord that He came to lay down His life for His sheep, the sheep included the whole of humanity. He must have remembered that the Lord during His earthly ministry ministered to gentiles. Peter listened to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the church was saved from division and crisis.
The word of God today challenges us to reflect on our acceptance of others. It challenges us to think of how much we are open to others who are different from us. It warms us to stop segregating and compartmentalizing people who were created in His own image and after His own likeness.
Let us pray: "O God, perfect light of the blessed, by whose gift we celebrate the paschal mysteries on earth, bring us, we pray, to rejoice in the full measure of your grace for ages unending." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.