Joy and happiness of the Easter season continues with the Church’s liturgy and each Sunday that joy is reflected in the three scriptural excerpts that are placed before us. If we mediate on this reality, we should have a great sense of unity with our fellow Christians because these texts are being read simultaneously all over the world. Not only are we united East and West but we are dramatically united in terms of today and yesterday. I am referring to the fact that each week we get a scene from Acts of Apostles and if we look carefully at the texts, we will see something that is very important and something that is very much with us today.
And on this Sunday we view from 2,000 years later a dramatic and important new insight that the apostles gain after being guided by the Holy Spirit. Up until this point, every member of this tiny community of faith has been Jewish and comes straight out of the rich Jewish tradition. In today’s reading, we see the leaders of the Church realizing that faith in Jesus Christ is for all people. Peter is the leader in grasping this all important reality. When he meets Cornelius, a Roman military officer, he instructs him in the message of Jesus and while that was happening the Holy Spirit descended upon all those who were listening.
They were all GENTILES and Peter asks and implicitly answers an awesome question. What can stop these people who have received the Holy Spirit from being baptized with water? And so they were. A new missionary thrust of the Church was underway.