Today’s first reading from St. Luke’s Acts of the Apostles recounts an episode in the early Church about some confusion as to what is required to be a good Christian. The directive decided upon by the early Church leaders was: “…to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals and from unlawful marriage.”
Now almost 2000 years later and many cultural shifts since, we may very well have lost the meaning of what was directed and how that might pertain to us today. It is helpful to realize that all of the above specifics had implications of false worship or denial of the one true God. Worship of pagan gods at the time often involved participating in eating the foods sacrificed to the pagan gods. Even in the markets one could find meats previously ritually dedicated to the pagan gods. And at times pagan worship involved sexual activity in honor of the gods (here called unlawful marriage).
The Christians were directed to no longer go along with the crowd but rather to now swim against the flow of the mainstream. That lesson remains true for us today. If we go along with our contemporary false god secular and materialistic culture without resisting, we are – as today’s Gospel warns us, – not loving Jesus and keeping his word.