02 February 2008

Saint Cornelius

Today the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Cornelius. Cornelius, was a Roman centurion, and a God-fearing man. One day, as he was praying, an angel appeared to him and told him to send a messenger to Joppa and ask Peter to come and preach to him. Peter, meanwhile, was given a vision that disposed him to go with the messenger. When Peter had preached to Cornelius and his family and friends, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on the first Christians at Pentecost, and they began to speak in other tongues. Thus, there was ample evidence to convince Jewish Christians who hesitated to believe that it was the will of God that Gentiles should be brought into the Church.

Cornelius was the first Gentile converted to Christianity, along with his household, and Luke, recording this event, clearly regards it as an event of the utmost importance in the history of the early Church, the beginning of the Church's decision to admit Gentiles to full and equal fellowship with Jewish Christians. Cornelius lived in Caesarea, the political capital of Judea under Herod and the Romans. Although he is not mentioned again in Scripture, we know from Church history that Cornelius left the military service and followed the apostles. Saint Peter ordained him a Bishop over the city of Caesarea of Palestine. He went there and proclaimed the Name of Christ. The date and manner of his death is unknown, though Eastern tradition accounts him as a martyr.

Prayer of the Day
O God, your Spirit called Cornelius the Centurion to be the first Christian among the Gentiles. Grant to your Church such a ready will to go where you send and to do what you command, that under your guidance it may welcome all who turn to you in love and faith, and proclaim the Gospel to all nations. We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Acts 11: 1-18
Psalm 67
Luke 13: 22-29


All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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