As we approach Pentecost, we are reminded of what happened to a gentile who was not part of the community of believers. We should take note that Cornelius was a Roman Centurion who probably like other Romans worshipped several gods. However, we told that he was a good and upright man who not only thought well of others but offered others assistance when there was a need. The narrative reminds us that our Father has no favourites and looks at the heart of a person. Considering what took place we ought focus on the fact that the Holy Spirit came upon him and his household even before they were baptised. Baptism in this instance was not the channel through which the Holy Spirit came upon them but the faith exemplified through care and concern for others. Faith of Cornelius was strong and he took the bold step of asking for Peter to enter his house. Yes, they believed but much more they put that faith into action. The consequence of it was that the Holy Spirit came upon them so that this work of theirs would continue with greater vigour.
This narrative should remind us of the need to put faith into action. This narrative reminds us that anyone can receive the Holy Spirit. We, who are baptised should all the more be aware and be moved by the Holy Spirit. However, it is striking that many Catholics are oblivious to the Holy Spirit and much more do not know the Holy Spirit or desire to be moved by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “How much more will your Father in heave give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” Lk 11:13
Another aspect of the first reading that must be considered with deep thought is that Peter gave up his old way of thinking after some difficult deliberation. He did not understand the vision that our Father gave to him and had to spend time pondering upon it. Even then he did not understand until he was called to the house of Cornelius. It took him time to cast aside the tradition that he had spent all his life knowing to be true. Our Father has no favourites and so should we. Peter was able to overcome his upbringing to embrace the ways of the Lord.
As we prepare for Pentecost, we are reminded to cast aside all that is not of the Lord and that nothing is impossible with the Lord.’ Lk 1:37 Peter accepted the hand of the Lord as he carried out the mission Jesus gave to him and the other apostles.
“As the father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love.” Our Lord offers his hand of friendship when he invites us to live his commandments that brings peace, joy and Love.