Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thought Experiment From Today's Readings

Consider this text from the first reading:

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people, “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Acts 2:36-40

Let's think about this for a moment. What would happen to a Catholic layman, priest, bishop, or even Pope Francis himself if they spoke in these terms, whether to a crowd of Jews, pagans, or Protestants who eschew baptism?

How would they be treated by their colleagues or even their fellow Catholics by saying something so non-ecumenical?

Let's also notice that Peter doesn't engage in dialogue here. He does not speak to the crowd as though their beliefs are on equal footing with his own. Instead, he speaks to them with authority. He argues. He is in full-blown evangelization mode here. What would happen if Peter was around today?

I submit that many ostensibly Catholic parishes would call for him to be cast out at best and stoned at worst.

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