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God Mad Me Do It

“God made me do it!”  This is Peter’s answer and justification for eating with “unclean” Gentiles in today’s 1st reading from the Acts of the Apostles.  Some Jewish Christians had accused Peter: “You entered the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them.”  We need to remember that the earliest Christians were Jews who believed that Jesus was the Messiah.  As Jews they saw themselves as still required to follow the kosher food and purity laws.

Yet Peter in a vision was instructed by God to violate these kosher food laws: “Get up, Peter, Slaughter and eat.”  Peter objected: “Certainly not, Lord, because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.”  God challenges Peter: “What God has made clean; you are not to call profane.”  Since God created both Jews and Gentiles in God’s image and likeness, God has made them clean and they should not be called profane.

God also made Peter baptize these Gentiles by sending the Holy Spirit even before they had been baptized.  So, Peter concluded: “I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  If then God gave them the same gift, he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?”

God challenges us today as a church, parish, and individual Christians to do his Will and not hinder God.  If we exclude or call people unclean or refuse to associate with them, we are hindering the Will of God.  We are challenged by God to expand our horizon and welcome all people; no one should be excluded.  Like Peter let us always strive to answer: “God made me do it!”

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