Saturday, January 08, 2011

Scripture Saturday--God is Merciful

This weekend's second reading shows us how God worked in St. Peter's life to change his mind about an issue he thought he knew all about--eating meat considered unclean.  As a devout Jew, there were types of animals that Peter was not allowed to eat.  As a Christian, Peter continued to follow that tradition as well as the Jewish tradition of circumcision.  Paul's letter to the Galatians tells us that Peter had refused to eat with gentiles after pressure from Jewish Christians.  He must have felt very conflicted as to what God's will was in regards to these laws he had followed all his life.

In the verses prior to this weekend's second reading, Peter has a vision. The Spirit shows Peter a number of the earth's animals and asks him to eat them.  Peter refuses three times because they are "unclean".  (Notice the parallel to Peter's 3-time denial of Christ and his later 3 time profession of love.)

God sends a Roman centurion, Cornelius, to him and Peter then realizes the meaning of the vision:
Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: ‘The truth I have now come to realize’ he said ‘is that God does not have favorites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him.  Act 10: 34-35
How truly freeing that is!! God does not want to heap burdens on our backs that are impossible to carry.  He wants us to live in Love.
 God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment. Joel 2:13
I think this is one of the main messages of Christ--mercy and forgiveness for all, from all.

Jesus admonished the "scholars of the law" because they impose on people burdens that are hard to carry but don't lift a finger to help them. (Luke 11:46)  Instead, Jesus long(s) to gather (His) children under (His) wings. (Matthew 23:37)

Sometimes, we must let go of old ideas and listen to God's cry for Love. Our God came and conquered death, not with military might, but as a poor helpless infant and as a peaceful enemy of the state, sentenced to death.

He lived Love. He preached Love. He *is* Love.

2 comments:

TACParent said...

Love . . .

Dymphna said...

Absolutely!

Dymphna's favorite quotes


"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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