First Reading: Acts 11:1-18; Psalm: 42. R. v. 3ab; Gospel: Jn 10:1-10
PRIORITISING OUR FAITH OVER EVERYTHING
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them” (Acts 11:3)
Christianity goes beyond the profession of faith in Jesus Christ to praxis. There are consequences or implications that come with every choice we make. When we try to deny or remove them, it implies we are not comfortable with that choice and perhaps shouldn’t have made it in the first place. If I chose to join a club for instance, I should be ready to relate with the club members and join the club’s meetings and interactions when the need arises. In fact, a necessary rapport with the members is implied by the virtue of being part of that group.
The circumcision party of the Jews detested the idea that Peter mingled and ate with uncircumcised Gentiles. They didn’t have a problem that these Gentiles accepted the word of God and became believers just like them; but that they are not qualified to intermingle with them who are circumcised. For these circumcised Jews, faith in Jesus Christ was secondary. What was primary or more important was circumcision. It was as though the sight of these Gentiles detests them for the single reason that they are not circumcised. Hear what they said to Peter: “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them” (Acts 11:3). From this disdainful statement, one can imagine how they looked at Peter as if he was nauseating like one drawn out of sewage. How shallow our faith can be at times?
What is that perspective, beliefs, or cultural/racial sentiments that make us detest the company of our fellow Christians? Being a Christian is not enough. But are we comfortable staying and living as Christians? One faith and one baptism in Jesus Christ have made us one family which is the reason we are called brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. So why should we feel so disgusted and uncomfortable at the sight of a fellow Christian because of their race and cultural inclinations? If the Holy Spirit did not discriminate between the Jews and the Gentile as revealed in Peter’s vision, who are we foolish mortals to do otherwise? We should grow to prioritise our faith over our personal sentiments.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us to grow to maturity in faith and in action. Amen.