MONDAY, FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER
Reading 1: Acts 11: 1-18 in a vision God tells Peter that the Gentiles do not have to become Jews or observe the dietary laws in order to be Christian.
Gospel: Jn 10: 1-10 using the image of a Good Shepherd, Jesus tells us that he loves and cares for all and is the answer to the thirsts of the human heart.
OPEN TO ALL!
In the first part of the gospel, we have the parable of the good shepherd. In the second part, which is its explanation, the emphasis is on the sheep gate. Why is this image so important that Jesus pronounces it twice (vv. 7 & 9)? The previous chapter throws light on this. In it we find the Pharisees throwing out from their presence, a blind man who was cured by Jesus (cf. Jn 9:34). Being sent to seek the lost, Jesus goes in search of him after coming to know he was driven out, accepts his profession of faith (cf. Jn 9:38) and leads him to abundant life (cf. Jn 10:10). Jesus is a gate that is always open to anyone who is willing to repent and follow him in doing the will of the Father.
In the first reading, we see how difficult it was for the first Christians to break away from the Jewish mould and reach out to the Gentiles. Even if they were to accept them, they could not think of doing so without enforcing the rite of circumcision. Many were challenging Peter about how he could offer the Gentiles the same benefits of faith that they themselves enjoyed.
Luke takes nearly two chapters (Acts 10 and 11) to narrate the story of the conversion of Cornelius, and perhaps more importantly, the conversion of Peter and the “circumcised believers” to a new vision of communion with the Gentiles. It is the Spirit-inspired voices of the Gentiles “speaking in tongues and extolling God” (cf. Acts 10:46), that offer Peter and his friends, conclusive evidence of God’s new vision. It is God’s voice that continues challenging Peter, guiding him through his famous dream at Joppa, and later calling him to no longer make a distinction between “them” and “us” (cf. Acts 11:12).
We have to understand that God’s vision of life and salvation is bigger, more inclusive, more merciful and loving than we can ever imagine. Am I a block in his way?
Resp. Psalm: Ps 42: 2-3, 43: 3-4 My soul is thirsting for you, the living God.
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