Can anyone stop “them”? Should anyone?
Devotional Thought fo the Day:
28He said to them, “You yourselves know very well that a Jew is not allowed by his religion to visit or associate with Gentiles. But God has shown me that I must not consider any person ritually unclean or defiled. 29And so when you sent for me, I came without any objection. I ask you, then, why did you send for me?”
Peter spoke up: 47“These people have received the Holy Spirit, just as we also did. Can anyone, then, stop them from being baptized with water? Acts 10:28-29, 46b-47
Philothea, our possessions are not our own, but were lent to us by God to cultivate them, and it is his will that we should render them fruitful and profitable, and therefore we perform services agreeable to Him in being careful of them; but then it must be a greater and more solid care than that which worldlings have of their goods, for they labour only for love of themselves, but we must labour for the love of God.
As I was reading this passage in Acts this morning, I noticed something I had overlooked before, something staggering in light of some of today’s issues.
Peter didn’t know why he was there!
He knew God wanted him there, he knew he was going to speak for God, but Peter didn’t get what God was about to do. A few verses later he sees it, as he stands in the midst of those that represent the oppression of his people, an evil, violent government, and people that days before, he considered defiled. He believed they were so defiled and unclean that simply by walking into their home, he would be considered defiled and unclean.
Even so, the Spirit sent him to Cornelious’ home, and taught him over and over that God is the one who determines who is unclean and defiled, not culture, not tradition, not even the anxieties that plagued them.
Then, even as Peter is learning this lesson for real, God takes it a step further. He just doesn’t confirm that these people can hear the gospel, He pours out His Spirit upon them. Peter’s obedience to the command to not consider them unclean results in their salvation, their being made one of us, the people of God. Our brothers and sisters in Christ.
How wonderful! How incredible!
And how much a lesson we need to see in our day and time.
God may not send us into their homes today, it seems that He is bringing them into our homes. They are refugees and immigrants, they are those who are turning to us for help, just as Cornelius was guided to send for Peter.
Will we consider them unclean and defiled? Will we let our anxieties rule over our mission? But as we encounter them ( and all we encounter) will we let God determine whether they are deserving to hear of His love? Will we let God move their hearts, and put His Spirit within them?
Or will our attitudes put up road blocks? Will our self-righteous judgment drive them away, insisting that we have to protect what is ours? (which really isn’t – see the quote from St. Francis De Sales in blue)
The realization that I started this with was that Peter didn’t know exactly why he was there, he had been told by God that he was to go, that this was God’s plan. As so he went, and came to know Cornelius, and so found the greatest joy.
May our faith grow like his, where we can set aside our fears, our anxieties, our biases and share with people the love of God. And so discover the one we thought was our adversary is really our brother.
Lord have mercy on us all…
Francis de Sales, Saint. An Introduction to the Devout Life. Dublin: M. H. Gill and Son, 1885. Print.
Posted on February 2, 2017, in Devotions, Francis DeSales, St Francis De Sales and tagged A light to Gentiles, apostolate, Candlemas, grace, Hospitality, Immigrants, Life in Christ, mission, Refugees. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.