Wednesday 5th Week of Easter
Acts of the Apostles 15.1-6, John 15.1-8
For over 1400 years since the time of Moses,
the people of Israel would have nothing to do
with other nations or peoples.
This was the Law of Moses.
Should anyone speak or touch a “Gentile”
such a person would be unclean
and would be ostracized
from the synagogue and Temple.
We see what could have been a division
and a complete split of the Early Church
in the First Reading.
One camp in Jerusalem wanted
everyone to follow the Law of Moses
in order to be saved.
Another camp with St. Paul and Barnabas
saw how the Holy Spirit came upon the Gentiles
without circumcision or the Mosaic Law.
So they convened a Council in Jerusalem
to discern how to incorporate new Gentile converts
into the life and community of the Church.
Much more was at stake
then color and culture, ideas and traditions.
What our first generation brothers and sisters
discovered is that there is no such thing
as an “outsider” in Christ Jesus.
They recalled how Jesus cured the Roman Centurion son.
They recalled how he asked the Samaritan woman
for a drink from her well using her cup.
Jesus is the Vine but he is also the entire plant.
This was a hard truth for the early Church to accept.
It was even harder for them
to embrace at the Lord’s table
someone not of the Jewish faith.
But they did it.
And they did it in such a loving way.
This embrace is a cornerstone of our Catholic, universal Church.
We cannot keep the Catholic Faith and way of life to ourselves.
Each branch must allow the Vine to penetrate every part of it
as we grow and mature in Christ Jesus,
it is he who reaches out and embraces
all people we meet every day.
Do not be surprised when he reaches out
and touches in a profound way
someone you find very difficult or different.
Who might that person be?
Say a prayer for them, even now
and say one for yourself too.