Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
1 John 4"7-10
The Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, tells us that on March 18, 1958, he was given a sudden insight as he stood on the corner of Fourth and Market (now named Muhammad Ali) streets, in downtown Louisville, Ky. He was "suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all these people…" He found them "walking around shining like the sun." This graced intuition led him to redefine his monastic identity, putting greater involvement in social justice issues.
This kind of breaking more fully into God’s world, sharing God’s vision, is something we all experience in many different ways. Some, like Merton and Dorothy Day, have these profound experiences locked in a moment of time. I believe that most of us grow and mature into these "new visions, new worlds" more gradually.
In today first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we find good old Peter, deeply formed in mind and heart by his Jewish upbringing. Salvation was for the Jews. All of a sudden he was looking through the lens of Jesus-given faith. Like looking through the Hubble telescope, he was seeing new worlds. God was going crazy loving everyone. "I begin to see how true it is that God shows no partiality. Rather, the man of any nation who fears God and acts uprightly is acceptable to him." The Holy Spirit was falling on people left and right. Peter had trouble keeping up with God. He quickly made the decision to give baptism to the family of Cornelius. He responded in the Spirit, but later on his logic and enculturation caught up with him and stirred doubts and questions that he would need to resolve.
The most delicious grace I have received in recent years, is the intuition that shows me that God is at work calling all people, no matter what religion they belong to. It is true that through Jesus all people are saved but God is mysteriously marvelous in the ways used to offer that call. Pope John Paul II’s loving call to the peoples of all religions, East and West, freed my mind to let the Holy Spirit move my soul and get me genuinely excited about the unity I feel deep down with all peoples. To be able to hug and embrace all peoples and believe in an eternity together, is and will remain a great grace given to me.
Fr. Blaise Czaja, C.P. gives parish missions and retreats. He is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.