A Message for All Nations
A Message for All to Hear…
When Christ came, He brought a message that He wanted the whole world to hear:
“After much debate had taken place, Peter got up and said to them, ‘My brothers, you are well aware that from early days God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness by granting them the holy Spirit just as he did us. He made no distinction between us and them, for by faith he purified their hearts.'” -Acts 15:7-9, NAB
The good news we find in the salvation given to us by Christ is a message that He wants the whole world to hear. Originally, many thought that Christ’s salvation was only for the Jews, but it did not take long to realize that it was more far reaching than that. Christ wanted His message to spread to the ends of the earth.
In today’s verse, we see Peter, our first pope, stand up and make a declaration about a matter in the Church. Other members of the Church were struggling to decide how to handle the situation. What was the situation? The Gentiles, the non-Jews, were being blessed with the Holy Spirit, but the Jewish converts to Christianity were having a hard time accepting them. Peter stepped in and set the record straight. The grace of God, as seen through the works of the Holy Spirit in the Gentiles, would extend beyond the Jews.
Unfortunately, we see the same thing today. Catholics and Christians struggle to accept converts to the faith. Somehow, they feel that the message is only meant for certain people. We doubt someone who was not born into a Catholic family. We doubt someone because of the sins they have committed, including theft, rape, and even murder. We doubt someone because they were born in the Middle East or Africa. I tell you, brothers and sisters, even the least of these can find grace and forgiveness in our Lord.
Christ was chastised for eating with sinners, but He said that it was the sinners that He was coming to save. The truth of the matter is that we are all sinners, and we all fall short of being worthy of His grace. Depite our failings, He offers it freely to all of us anyway. Who receives God’s grace is not for us to decide; it is a decision only God can make.