He does whatever he wills

I respectfully submit that Peter, the first pope, is, well, stark raving mad.

To suggest that God does not have favourites! He, a member of God’s chosen people, a properly circumcised son of Jacob, suggesting that the chosen people are not so, uhm, chosen! He is completely bonkers, end of story.

To think he is pope, Holy Father, bishop of Rome, patriarch of the West, pontifex maximus. But then, what good can come from Galilee?

What did you expect? If you choose someone from the back of the beyond to build your church on, you will in no time have a crisis. He must be, no, he is, yes, he is an impostor. One of his first decisions on the chair of, right, of Peter, is to open the doors and make of everyone a brother, tutti fratelli and what not. What? O right, make of everyone a brother and a sister.

Seriously people, we should go back to how things were in the past, when everything was clear and straight forward. We are the chosen people, they are not. Creating all this insecurity by saying God has not chosen the chosen people. Where did he get his pope-training? Where is he taking the church?

And on and on.

Sound familiar? It can actually be fun, writing like this, with not the least bit of deference or civility, even with “respectfully” somewhere in the mix. Definitely with no accountability whatsoever.

But it is what it is. Black on white, if papyrus or parchment was white indeed. And written by a man of refinement and letters, a doctor of medicine known for his enduring gentility in authoring. Luke himself.

On pagans too! Anybody from any nationality! Acts 10:35, in any language and in any version of the Bible you will find it written there, nothing wrong with your eyes. Anywhere in any Catholic church on this 6th Sunday of Easter you will hear it proclaimed, nothing wrong with your ears. And while it may not be such a novel thing for you and me to see and hear, despite the discomfort, Peter’s fellows in the faith were downright astonished to see God’s Holy Spirit coming down on the uncircumcised, on “them”! Right there before their very eyes, and for us in Acts 10:44 and 46. Without any proper catechism, might I add, or any formation of conscience.

God is a God for them, too. That was the earth-shattering truth they witnessed that day, and that is what that very church still proclaims today, unsettling as it may have been then and strangely enough, still is today.

Because, let’s be honest, we really do prefer an “us” and “them”. In that way, lines are drawn. Things are clear. There is no grey area. Truth is truth. All can be responded to with a yes or no. Nothing needs to be “discerned.” But.

God does whatever He wills. Straight from the collection of good old king David, he of the harp and the song. Psalm 115:3. Those of us charged with praying the breviary happen upon this little verse with the rest of the psalm every Sunday evening in week 2 of the four-week cycle. As if to tell us whose church it really is.

And that ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, to finally use some big words, are no present-day novelties smuggled in through the back door by a mad pope. The word of God proclaims it loudly and clearly: God is a God for us and for them, whatever names they have in our hearts and on our tongue.

Hard to swallow. But God does whatever He wills. He is our God.

And theirs.

What shall we say at the end of the day? May I suggest we do it with the Mother of the Lord, “let it be done to me according to your word”?

Respectfully, of course.