thoughts and observations on the daily readings
Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Readings may be found here
In the Gospel of John, Jesus promises His disciple the gift of the Holy Spirit, who “will teach you everything and remind you of all that told you.” (John 14:26)
In the first reading today we see that teaching and learning taking place in the heart and ministry of St. Peter. The early Church struggled with the question of observance of Jewish ritual laws. Many of the first Christians expected Gentile converts to convert first to the Jewish way of life. Peter appears to have been timid on this matter, at least afraid to provoke opposition even as he was well aware of Jesus’ example of setting aside ritual prescriptions and welcoming Gentiles during His ministry. In Acts 10, Peter has a vision and a visit to the house of the Gentile Cornelius that teaches changes his perspective. He is learning by the power of the Spirit. In our passage, we hear Peter’s newfound conviction as he relates these events and effects a similar change in the hearts of his listeners.
In the gospel passage today, Jesus continues to speak of Himself as the Good Shepherd. Notice that He alludes here to others that do not yet “belong to the fold.” He will give His life for them as well. That truth is being taught in Acts to Peter and the whole Church.
Learning is about more than information, it is about openness and humility – the willingness to have our own perspectives challenged and changed. Those early Christians give us good example of openness to the power of the Spirit. May we learn the lessons that the Spirit is teaching here and now.