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SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, MAY 05, 2024

St. Peter Baptizing the Centurion Cornelius, painted by Francesco Trevisani.




When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage. Peter, however, raised him up, saying, "Get up. I myself am also a human being."


Then Peter proceeded to speak and said, "In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.

Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him."


While Peter was still speaking these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God.

Then Peter responded, "Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit even as we have?"

He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.


REFLECTION

"The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also"


From the Easter time readings we see that Saint Peter seems to have had a tough time accepting that salvation could also come to non-Jewish people. However, we see how they cannot deny the Holy Spirit poured out on all that were accepting Jesus. No matter who they were, or where they came from.


In my 21st century mentality I think, "How could they be so hard-headed to think salvation was for a small group of people?" Were they thinking this was an exclusive club?"


I think many times I engage in similar behavior. Many times I feel superior because I was born Catholic. And one can read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God." (CCC 816)


Does this mean people of other Christian denominations are doomed? Or that we cannot learn anything from them?


How did Cornelius and his family enrich the early Church with their conversion?


I see my non-denominational next door neighbors gathering friends every week for prayer at their home. Do I invite my friends to meet for prayer? Or am I too busy to reach out to them?


My Mormon friends pencil a weeknight to play boardgames with their kids. Do I turn off the TV, pop some popcorn, and gather friends and family to play board games, and catch up with them, their lives, and make sure of their well being in a relaxed environment.


Our atheist Type 1 mom, (i.e. mother of a diabetic child), and her blended family have extended their backyard garden with all kinds of beautiful plants, and go on awesome hiking trips. Do I talk to them and my children about the beauty of creation, and to be grateful to God about the gifts He has put under our care?


We do want oneness in the Church. We do want others to experience the true beauty of the Love of Christ, and His Truth. When I talk to other people, I need to practice humility, to learn to appreciate their gifts, especially in how God manifests in others, pray and help them come to the unity of the Church.


My words and deeds won't be enough. Come Holy Spirit! help me do your will.









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