Reflections on the Readings
Sixth Sunday of Easter - May 13, 2012 - Year B
By Dennis S. Hankins
For All People
And Peter opened his mouth and said, "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him."
Cornelius is one who reverences God. He is a God-fearer. Short of circumcision, God-fearers honored the God of Israel in all of their life. They prayed and remembered the poor among them. They prayed at the appointed hours of prayer. It was at such an hour of prayer, the ninth hour, that Cornelius is visited by an angel. The message for Cornelius is that his prayer has been heard and that his alms are pleasing to God.
In the meantime Peter has a vision from God instructing him not to consider what God accepts or cleansed as common or unclean. Pondering the vision Peter is told by the Spirit that men from Joppa are his door and that he should go with them without hesitation. The men from Cornelius explain that Cornelius is a Centurion and a God-fearing man and is held in high esteem by the whole Jewish nation. Furthermore Peter learns that Cornelius was visited by a holy angel who instructed the worshipful Cornelius to send for Peter.
God's love is universal. His love is without partiality. It is Peter and me and you who need to know this. As we hear in the second reading, 'whoever loves is begotten by God and knows God.' If we are more attentive to the God of love we will be more present and attentive to the people he calls us to love. Pope Benedict in an address recently commented, "In order to give love to others we must draw it from the furnace of divine charity, through long periods of prayer, constant listening to the word of God and a life focused on the mystery of the Eucharist."
I recall a simple chorus mostly sung in Charismatic Praise gatherings. It's lyrics are:
I love you with the love of the Lord.
Yes I love you with the love of the Lord.
I can see in you the glory of my King;
And I love you with the love of the Lord.
It is this glory of his King Peter sees as his preaching invokes upon Cornelius and his household and friends an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is the same majesty and glory on them as Peter and company saw on the Day of Pentecost. It at once astounds and settles the question. God's glory and majesty and love is for all people. Other sheep he has who are not of this fold. These also he calls.
In this Easter season the Lord of Love invites us to know he cares and reached out to all people. The Covenant of Forgiving Love gave himself for us and for us he is risen from the dead. The power of death is conquered and his love for all prevails. This promise is to you and your children and to all that the Lord our God calls today! Amen.
Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN. Prior to his uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org His website is: www.dennishankins.com