It is fascinating to read the Acts of the Apostles. We get such a wonderful insight into their daily life and discover how the church came to be. I think many people have the impression that the church just quickly and quietly came into being. Not so. And today gives a real turning point in understanding our faith.
Peter has seriously broken with tradition. Jewish people would not have meals with non-Jewish people for fear of becoming unclean. Unclean in this situation would mean you could not enter the temple, you had defiled yourself by touching, or in this case eating food that was not prepared the right way. Peter tells of a fantastic vision he experienced. Almost too much to believe. But he has witnesses that corroborate the story.
Two very important parts to the story. First, this new faith is inclusive. All people are invited into the faith, and they did not have to comply with all the Jewish laws and regulations. Second, we almost did not happen. The religious leaders of our new faith were quick to condemn Peter because of his breaking with tradition.
Our new religious leaders almost sound like the old Pharisees and their laws. But upon Peter’s explanation they saw the hand of God working through the Holy Spirit. Whereas the Pharisees chose to ignore the Spirit working among them, our religious celebrated the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
This is important to all of us. We have all kinds of rules and regulations, but we must obey God. We must open our lives to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If we are not sure what to do, then we gather and openly discuss issues, discerning the direction of the Holy Spirit. Thank God these people did, or we may never have developed into the faith we have today.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen