In order for us to fully understand our Christian faith it is vitally important we remember its origins in Jewish history. We are all a product of our origins whether we are talking about genetics, sociology, history or religion. Our past always contributes to who we are as individuals and as a people. When we read the Acts of the Apostles and the other New Testament literature we can easily see the difficulties the Early Church had in distinguishing their Christian faith from that of their Jewish forbears. There is not quite the same problem for the Gentiles but they had different roots upon which to build. When we build a life of faith we have to decide what we accept as its basis and build on that. This is what the Early Christians had to do and their main foundation was the faith of the Jews.

 

Luke reminds us in the First Reading of our roots in the Jewish faith and so as Christians we need to be familiar with the messages of the Prophets and the meaning of the Old Covenant of the Law given on Mt Sinai. If we refuse to depth our hearts, minds and faith in these realities we will never be fully able to appreciate what Christ has done for us in offering us the gift of salvation. It is important for Christians to know Jewish history so that the full meaning of salvation will be understood. Otherwise we will run the risk of missing out on the grace God wants to make available to us through the ministry, life and death of Jesus.

 

As Peter preaches he tells the people that as Christians we are heirs of Christ and thus heirs to all that the Jewish faith has to offer. Let us not allow these words to fall on deaf ears and let us make the effort this Easter to try to understand our faith a little more deeply. This will ultimately enhance our relationship with God and strengthen our understanding and communion with him.

 

How well do I understand the Jewish roots of my Christian Faith?

 

Holy Spirit, help me to better understand the Old Testament as I read it. Let me see how what you reveal there is still relevant to the Christian Gospel.