Anne Lamott’s priest friend Tom told her, “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do” (Bird by Bird, page 21).
In today’s first reading from Acts, no one was more astounded than Peter and his companions when they visited the house of Cornelius, a centurion of the Roman army and a servant to Caesar. Recall that it was the Roman soldiers under the reign of Caesar who beat and crucified Jesus. Surely Peter and his companions walked into Roman guard’s home with some assumptions about who should deserve God’s hate.Jesus’s single commandment is to love, plain and simple, for everyone who loves knows God. Love will be the key that opens the doors between enemies and binds them in self-giving love. Click To Tweet
But Acts describes Cornelius as upright, God-fearing, and respected by the whole Jewish nation. He prayed constantly to God and gave alms to support the Jewish people. And upon receiving an angelic vision, he summoned Peter to come to his home and preach the Gospel of Jesus there.
God indeed shows no partiality when it comes to the gift of divine love. But we humans are experts at prejudice and believing we know the mind of God. This is why Jesus’s single commandment is to love, plain and simple, for everyone who loves knows God. Love will be the key that opens the doors between enemies and binds them in self-giving love.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.
Read more reflections on the Sunday readings here:
- Avoiding “small-minded” discipleship
- A shift in focus
- At the Crossroads
- Messy but Life-Changing
- True Observance