Did you ever wonder if the people in the early church ever had disagreements? Today’s first reading indicates they did, and it was between Peter and Paul. The first leaders of our church. The situation is this: Gentiles were coming into the faith. They were baptized and they would have been taught what Jesus said and did, and that He died for us to grant us salvation. In the reading to the Galatians, Peter is staying with a family Galatian family. Peter had already had the vision that the kosher laws did not apply any longer. So, Peter could eat with families that were not Jewish. This may not seem an important issue to our ears today, but in first century Israel this was a serious breach of Mosaic law. You could have been stoned for doing something like this.
Paul noticed that when other Jewish brothers arrived Peter separated himself from the Gentiles and started acting like a Jew. Paul calls out Peter on this. Peter was being hypocritical. How could Peter accept Gentiles into the faith if Peter were acting like a Jew? Were the Gentiles supposed to become Jewish first?
It was disagreements like this in the first century that helped define Christianity into what it is today. Dietary laws were just one issue that needed to be addressed. Paul confronted Peter head on so to speak. Peter accepted the confrontation and both men grew in learning and wisdom. Confrontation does not need to be acrimonious when both people have Christ as their focal point. Then those in disagreement start with a common foundation, that is Jesus. We can treat each other with respect and love, as that is the teaching of our Lord. The goal is not for one person to be right and the other wrong, but that we grow in faith and understanding together.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen