“breaking down the barrier of hostility” (eph 2:14)
“I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must lead them, too, and they shall hear My voice. There shall be one flock then, one shepherd.” ––John 10:16
Jesus and St. Paul each stated the Gentiles were destined for a new relationship with Israel and the Jewish people (see Mt 12:18; cf Rm 11:25). Why is this important? To begin to answer that question, read Acts Chapter 10, and then reread today’s passage from Acts 11:1-18. You’ll learn details about the Roman centurion Cornelius “who was religious and God-fearing. The same was true of his whole household. He was in the habit of giving generously to the people and he constantly prayed to God” (Acts 10:1-2).
Cornelius was a Gentile. Today, the animosity between Jews and Gentiles during biblical times seems remote to us. But Cornelius, a powerful Roman officer, clearly could have lorded it over the Jews (see Mt 20:25). However, he was moved by grace to love God and neighbor.
Certainly, Jesus came to save “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt 15:24). But Pentecost unveiled a mystery. “It is no less than this: in Christ Jesus the Gentiles are now co-heirs with the Jews, members of the same body and sharers of the promise through the preaching of the gospel” (Eph 3:6).
In the end, Cornelius and his entire household were baptized (see Acts 10:47-48). We who are fortunate enough to be baptized are also members of the same Body of Christ. Serve God and neighbor. Live your Baptism.
Prayer: Father, I commit to serve my neighbor in a new way.
Promise: “They stopped objecting, and instead began to glorify God in these words: ‘If this be so, then God has granted life-giving repentance even to the Gentiles.’ ” ––Acts 11:18
Praise: “Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being. Do it for the Lord rather than for men” (Col 3:23). St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
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