Sixth Sunday of Easter
So beautifully do the story of Cornelius in the first reading and the praises of the psalmist harmonize today. Cornelius is not the first Gentile to be baptized, but his story holds a unique place in Christiantiy. Both Cornelius’ invitation and Peter’s acceptance to visit his home were preceded by divine visions. More than this, though, God manifested Himself in the home of Cornelius, a Gentile, almost as publically as He had at Pentecost. In the sight of Peter and of the others who had come with him, the Holy Spirit was poured down upon Cornelius and his household.
This public manifestation of the Lord came after many acts of faith on the part of all those gathered in Cornelius’ house. First, he was a “devout and God-fearing” (Acts 10:2) man who constantly gave assistance to those in need and prayed to God. Such a life prepared him to receive the call of the Lord. Peter, upon hearing the message that Cornelius was looking for him, did not give any excuses such as “I cannot enter the house of a Gentile.” Instead, he followed the inspiration of the Lord and went right away. Cornelius and all with him were eager to listen to the words of the Lord that had been entrusted to Peter. Peter eagerly told them about the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. It was while he was telling them this message that the Holy Spirit came.
And so today we can sing with the psalmist “The Lord has revealed to the nations His saving power!” As we enter into these last weeks of Easter and begin to prepare for the great feasts of the Ascension and Pentecost, let us try to be like Cornelius and Peter. Let us remember the importance of personal prayer and acts of charity. Let us be docile to how God calls us through others and teaches us through others. Then we will be ready to receive the Holy Spirit, who will help us to remain faithfully in Christ’s love.