Gospel reading (Acts 11:1-18) describes an important turning point for the early Church. Since Christianity was the fulfilment of Judaism, it seemed logical to the first Christians that Jewish laws should be obeyed. To eat with Gentiles was a sin, according to Jewish law, because they dined on food that was forbidden in the Torah.
The scene opens with Peter in trouble for breaking this law. He had evangelized Gentiles without first converting them to Judaism. The resulting uproar sent him to Jerusalem to defend his actions. The council’s disapproval created a major obstacle, not only to Peter’s ministry, but to the whole idea of spreading Christianity beyond Jewish boundaries.
Peter went through Jesus to reach the hearts of the council members and open them to God’s plan. The key that unlocked the solution was their trust in the Holy Spirit’s power to give direction and guidance through supernatural gifts such as Peter’s vision.
Similarly today, when we face the trials of being misjudged and dealing with the disapproval of fellow Christians, we can get through it with success by trusting Jesus and relying on the gifts of his Holy Spirit.
If people have shut a door on something that God wants you to do, Jesus wants to lead you to an opportunity elsewhere where you can proceed. If he’s given you a passion for which there seems to be no outlet, look for an outlet that you hadn’t planned.
For example, for many years, I felt inspired to give homilies, but I’m not an ordained priest, nor have I ever hoped to be. I do not believe that this inspiration was God giving evidence that women should become clergy. Women can have very dignified, very important roles as ministers in the Church. My lack of ordination was no obstacle for my gift. God had other plans. And since I never had the opportunity to give lay reflections during Mass, I waited on Jesus to show me what to do with this gift.
Eventually, a couple of friends and I began to send emails to each other about our thoughts on the daily Mass readings. As I wrote my personal reflections on the scriptures, my friends began to share them with others, and thus these daily Good News Reflections were born (November 1999). Today, I’m “homilizing” to many thousands of subscribers around the world, plus countless visitors to other websites that have been authorized to post my reflections, plus Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, plus the “Good News App, plus in church bulletins (provided through Catholic Digital Resources).
Only God knows the size of my daily Mass “congregation”. Plus, some of my subscribers are priests who use these reflections in actual homilies.
Because I have allowed Jesus to lead me, I’m using the gifts of the Spirit in a way that’s beyond anything I could have ever dreamed. God is awesome! Wait for him to give you an outlet for your passions. Because he’s calling you, he will lead you.