The worldwide Church


Into all the world

You may have seen a picture of Jesus surrounded by children from different countries.  This is a way of showing that the Christian Church is open for people of all nations to join, for the simple reason that Jesus came to save all people.  That is why, before he ascended to Heaven, he commanded his Apostles to go and teach all nations and baptise them (Matthew 28:19).

Jews and Gentiles

However, it took the Apostles a long time to realise this.  They were Jews and kept the Jewish Law, and that meant they didn’t mix with Gentiles which was the name given to those who were not Jews and did not keep the Law.  For example, the Jews had special rules about the food they ate.  Pork they were not allowed to eat at all, and other meat only if all the blood had been drained from it before it was cooked.  All these foods which were forbidden by the Jewish Law they called unclean or common (profane), but of course Gentiles did not mind what theyate.  The result was that Jews never had any meals with Gentiles.  The Apostles seem to have forgotten that Jesus had said that one could eat any kind of food (cf Mark 7:15), and St Peter for one was very worried about his missionary work.  He wanted to bring people of every nation into the Church, Gentiles and all, but how could he if he did not mix with them?

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