Reading I: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
Before this passage, we learn about a man named Cornelius who is a Roman centurion (so a Gentile) who believes in God. He has a vision from an angel of God that he is to call on Peter. Peter also has a vision where a voice tells him it is okay to eat unclean meat because it is still from God. He was perplexed by this when Cornelius’ men arrive. Once Peter meets Cornelius and they share their visions, it becomes clear that Jesus was not meant to be just for the Jewish people but for all people. However, the big questions were: Were Christians bound by the Jewish rules? Should the Gentiles be received without first becoming Jews (i.e. being circumcised)? This was never resolved in Jesus’ lifetime. It makes one consider how many try to resolve issues today in the church using Jesus’ words and deeds. If Jesus did not solve the most fundamental question of the Christian mission, we may well doubt that his recorded words solve most of our subsequent debated problems in the church (Brown, R., A Once-and-Coming Spirit at Pentecost, pgs. 61-62).
God shows no partiality. The root of all the readings this week (and always with the Word!) is love. How often do we feel completely affirmed to the core of our being? Do we ever get to a point where we have arrived in feeling absolutely loved and accepted for who we are? Are we worthy? We have a deep desire to be loved. Carl Jung said, “What we’re about as humans is a constant and consistent movement toward wholeness.” We are wired to be connected with something that is other and beyond. As St. Augustine said, “My soul is restless until it rests in you, O God.” This love that is God is offered to all, with no partiality.
Reading 2: 1 John 4:7-10
Love has a double relationship to God. It is only by knowing God what we learn to love and it is only by loving that we learn to know God. Love comes from God, and love leads to God. So the effect of God is love. It is when God comes into a person that s/he is clothed with the love of God and the love of people. So we must live a life of love. What better example for us than Jesus, (Wm. Barclay’s Daily Study Bible Series, p. 97).
From Creighton University Online Ministries:
I like to think, and I pray God’s fingerprints are on me and the prints I leave behind are just as noticeably God’s prints. For me, leaving behind a trail of God’s fingerprints is not easy, but God’s prints are readily identifiable. It is God who intrudes and rifles my heart. It is God who sets things right. God dwells among us. God dwells in me. God’s fingerprints are everywhere. Just like fingerprints on a window can only be seen in the light, I also have to stand where the light can shine through me. God’s love-ly fingerprints are smeared and permanently stuck to me. How do you leave your love-ly fingerprints?
Gospel: John 15:9-17
We do not earn God’s love, and we do not initiate love and goodness ourselves. Everything comes from God…freely given; we can accept or reject. (At Home with the Word, p. 87) Can you think of times when you have accepted or rejected God’s love in your life? The love in the Trinity is the love that God wants to have with us. It completes the circle. Jesus came to be one with us…completely human. To the point that he calls us His friends. He chooses us. How does that make you feel? This love for one another brings life…IN ABUNDANCE! But what Jesus is telling us isn’t just a warm, fuzzy feeling…it is a commandment: love one another. Can all of us do that, all the time? “The relationality of the three bonded in the one Love spills over into a relationality with the world, thereby making it possible for human persons to enter into this communion in the one Love, “ (M. Downey, Altogether Gift, p. 60). We are meant to be intertwined with God in God’ Trinity. How do we do that?