Today’s readings are often referred to as the Jerusalem Council or the first council of our church. The faith is spreading even with terrible persecutions. It is spreading by two methods.
First, many of the initial converts were Jewish, born and raised in the Jewish faith. They understood the Jewish teachings of the faith and so moving into the new faith proposed by the Apostles is not difficult.
Second, Paul, Barnabas, and others have gone out to the gentiles, people who were not Jewish. So, the question comes up: should the gentiles become Jewish first? An important question because in the Jewish faith there are many rules and regulations.
There is a council called and it is James who makes the observation: we as Jews could not follow all of the rules why should we expect the gentiles to follow the rules we cannot. James proposes that the gentiles be allowed into the new faith and not become Jewish.
There is much discussion, but his reasoning resulted with the gentiles being allowed to enter the faith. There are some minor details that were imposed. They are pollution from idols, unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood.
Why would these details be important? It seems to be a cultural thing. In other words, people believe in the God of their faith they would not accept an offering from a false god. Strangulation is an inhumane method of killing. And it was assumed that the life of animal was in its blood. You would not drink the blood. A father or mother should not marry their children.
It is important to note that the two methods of evangelization came together and drew up a compromise guided by the Spirit. Our Church has operated this way from the beginning. Thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit for our one, true, Catholic Church.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen