Today's first reading raises a question that has always been vexing for me. In it the Holy Spirit acts through the apostles to bring about the great theological breakthrough of the primitive church: gentile converts do not have to become Jews to be Christians, but only have to follow a stream-lined version of the Law: they have to abide by marriage as it was set up at creation and keep the Noachic covenant with regard to food. The keeping of the whole Law is left behind.
But what does it mean for us now? Is the attitude toward the Mosaic Law in the New Testament meant to be our theological attitude to the rules and laws of the Catholic church now? Well, many of us certainly act that way, and you can make a strong argument for this position. This is the liberal position that is loose with church law, and it seems Scriptural from a certain perspective.
Or is the Holy Spirit that dispenses the gentile converts from the Jewish Law the same Spirit Who asks us to follow the laws and rules of the Catholic church now?
I have suffered anguish over this question from the day of my baptism, and have not yet come to a satisfying answer.