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ACTS, 10 ----- Peter entered the house of Cornelius who met him, dropped to his knees before Peter and bowed low.
Peter said as he helped him to his feet, "Get up! I am only a man myself."
Peter addressed Cornelius and the people assembled at his house in these words: "I begin to see how true it is that God shows no partiality. Rather, the man of any nation who fears God and acts uprightly is acceptable to him.
This is the message he has sent to the sons of Israel, 'the good news of peace' proclaimed through Jesus Christ who is Lord of all.
I take it you know what has been reported all over Judea about Jesus of Nazareth, beginning in Galilee with the baptism John preached; of the way God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good works and healing all who were in the grip of the devil, and God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem.
They killed him finally, 'hanging him on a tree,' only to have God raise him up on the third day and grant that he be seen, not by all, but only by such witnesses as had been chosen beforehand by God - by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commissioned us to preach to the people and to bear witness that he is the one set apart by God as judge of the living and the dead.
To him all the prophets testify, saying that everyone who believes in him has forgiveness of sins through his name."
Peter had not finished these words when the Holy Spirit descended upon all who were listening to Peter's message. The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were surprised that the gift of the Holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also., whom they could hear speaking in tongues and glorifying God.
Peter put the question at that point: "What can stop these people who have received the Holy Spirit, even as we have, from being baptized with water?" So. he gave orders that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. After this was done, they asked him to stay with them for a few days.
For some time a number of avant-garde Christians have made contact with pagans, and at times, perhaps somewhat hastily, they have baptized a few here and there. However, it takes time to accept the idea of living the common adventure of the Gospel with strangers.
Prompted by the Spirit, Peter tears down the wall of separation which, in every city of the East, stood firmly between the primitive Jewish community and the pagans.
Christ has been raised and has become the Lord-no longer the isolated Messiah (or anointed prince and prophet and priest) of a small people, but the Lord of mankind and the new Adam.
The Resurrection is not the exclusive property of Israel.
God is not partial to anyone race or nation.
As manifested by His perfect representative, Jesus Christ, He wants pagans to have the same spiritual privileges as the converted Jews.
Pope John XXIII prayed and worked for a new Pentecost and for the reunion of all who are moved by the Spirit.
The Spirit knows no walls of separation or iron curtains.
There are men of good will every where, and many are seeking for the way, the truth and the life.
Without renouncing any of the essentials of the faith, we must be willing to accept from others what they can contribute in the matter of truth in regard to what Christ has taught Peter and the other Apostles. We need openness to all, while always being careful at the same time not to be influenced by falsehood or an ethics that cannot be accepted by a Christian.
(Source: St. Joseph Liturgical Bible. Nihil Obstat: Daniel V. Flynn JCD Censor Librorum. Imprimatur: James P. Mahoney, Vicar General, Archdiocese of New York. The nihil obstat and imprimatur are official declarations that the commentary is free of doctrinal or moral error.)