Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cornelius, Captain

Today we commemorate Cornelius. Cornelius is spoken of in Acts 10. He was a Gentile who adopted some of the Jewish practices but did not undergo circumcision. He was known for his constant prayer, good works, and alms. Cornelius receives a vision in which an angel of God tells him that his prayers have been heard. The angel then instructs Cornelius to send the men of his household to Joppa, where they will find Simon Peter, who is residing with a tanner by the name of Simon. The conversion of Cornelius comes after another vision given to Simon Peter. In the vision, Simon Peter sees all manner of four-footed beasts and birds of the air being lowered from Heaven in a sheet. A voice commands Simon Peter to eat. When he objects to eating those animals that are unclean to Mosaic Law, the voice tells him not to call unclean that which God has cleansed. When Cornelius meets Simon Peter, he falls at his feet in adoration. Picking Cornelius up, Simon Peter welcomes him. After the two men share their visions, and Simon Peter tells of Jesus' ministry and the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit falls on everyone at the gathering. Those present are amazed that Cornelius and other uncircumcised should begin speaking in tongues, praising God. Simon Peter orders that Cornelius and his followers be baptized.

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