Sunday, May 10, 2015, is the Sixth Sunday of Easter. The readings will be: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48; 1 John 4:7-10 and John 15:9-17.
Our readings this weekend remind us that it is always God who takes the initiative. In our first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, God prompts both Peter and Cornelius to act in a way that will bring them closer to God. In John’s letter we are told, “in this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us.” And in the Gospel, Jesus says “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain.”
The story of Cornelius is interesting. He was a captain in the Roman army who lived in Caesarea, on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of Jerusalem. Cornelius was a charitable man and worshipped God, yet he was a Gentile, not Jewish like the apostles and the first followers of Jesus. An angel appeared to Cornelius, expressed God’s pleasure with him, and instructed Cornelius to send for the apostle, Peter. Meanwhile, God spoke to Peter in a dream, telling him not to consider ‘unclean’ anything that God had declared clean. This was a departure from Peter’s Jewish upbringing that considered many foods and circumstances to be unclean. The Scriptures tell us that it was the Spirit who spoke to Peter as he struggled to understand God’s message and who inspired him to reverse his earlier belief that non-Jews could not belong to the Church.
As we move through the Sundays of Easter and approach the feast of Pentecost, we hear more and more about the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of Christ’s followers. It is through the Holy Spirit that God takes initiative with us and guides our lives in the same unexpected and amazing ways that he guided the lives of Cornelius and Peter.
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