Wednesday, 16 October 2019
Catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles - 12. "God does not make preference of persons" (Acts 10:34). Peter and the outpouring of the Spirit on the pagans
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The journey of the Gospel in the world, which St. Luke recounts in the Acts of the Apostles, is accompanied by the supreme creativity of God which manifests itself in a surprising manner. God wants his children to overcome every particularism to open up to the universality of salvation. This is the purpose: to overcome particularisms and open up to the universality of salvation, because God wants to save everyone. Those who are reborn from water and the Spirit - the baptized - are called to come out of themselves and open up to others, to live in proximity, the style of living together, which transforms every interpersonal relationship into an experience of fraternity (see Esort ap. Evangelii gaudium, 87).
The witness of this process of "fraternization" that the Spirit wants to trigger in history is Peter, protagonist in the Acts of the Apostles with Paul. Pietro lives an event that marks a decisive turning point for his existence. While he is praying, he receives a vision that serves as a divine "provocation" to stir up a change of mentality in him. He sees a large tablecloth coming down from above, containing various animals: quadrupeds, reptiles and birds, and he hears a voice inviting him to feed on those meats. He, as a good Jew, reacts by claiming that he has never eaten anything impure, as required by the Law of the Lord (see Lv 11). Then the voice strongly replies: "What God has purified, you do not call him profane" (Acts 10:15).
With this fact the Lord wants Peter to no longer evaluate events and people according to the categories of the pure and the impure, but to learn to go further, to look at the person and the intentions of his heart. What makes man impure, in fact, does not come from outside but only from within, from the heart (see Mk 7:21). Jesus said it clearly.
After that vision, God sends Peter to the home of an uncircumcised foreigner, Cornelius, "centurion of the so-called Italic, [...] religious and God-fearing cohort", who gives many alms to the people and always prays to God (see Acts 10,1 -2), but he was not Jewish.
In that house of pagans, Peter preaches the crucified and risen Christ and the forgiveness of sins to whoever believes in Him. And while Peter speaks, the Holy Spirit is poured out over Cornelius and his family. And Peter baptized them in the name of Jesus Christ (see Acts 10:48).
This extraordinary fact - this is the first time such a thing has happened - is known in Jerusalem, where the brothers, shocked by Peter's behavior, harshly rebuke him (see Acts 11: 1-3). Peter did something that went beyond custom, beyond the law, and for this they reproach him. But after the meeting with Cornelius, Peter is freer from himself and more in communion with God and with others, because he saw the will of God in the action of the Holy Spirit. He can therefore understand that the election of Israel is not the reward for merit, but the sign of the gratuitous call to be the mediation of the divine blessing among the pagan peoples.
Dear brothers, from the Prince of the Apostles we learn that an evangelizer cannot be an impediment to God's creative work, which "wants all men to be saved" (1 Tim 2: 4), but one that favors the meeting of hearts with the Lord. And how do we behave with our brothers, especially those who are not Christians? Are we impediment for the encounter with God? Do we obstruct their encounter with the Father or do we facilitate it?
Today we ask for the grace to allow ourselves to be surprised by God's surprises, not to hinder his creativity, but to recognize and favor the ever new ways through which the Risen Christ pours his Spirit into the world and attracts hearts making himself known as the "Lord of all "(Acts 10:36). Thanks.
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les personnes venues de Belgique et de France. Pierre se reconnaît comme serviteur de la Parole de Dieu. Cette Parole le précède et le dépasse; elle l’appelle à donner le meilleur de lui-même. En ce mois missionnaire extraordinaire, demandons la grâce de l’Esprit Saint, à être comme évangélisateurs, des constructeurs de ponts entre les personnes et le Seigneur, et non des obstacles et des barrières au salut. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
[Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini di lingua francese, in particolare quelli del Belgio e della Francia. Pietro si riconosce come un servitore della Parola di Dio. Questa Parola lo precede e lo supera; lo chiama a dare il meglio di se stesso. In questo mese missionario straordinario, chiediamo alla grazia dello Spirito Santo di essere evangelizzatori, costruttori di ponti tra le persone e il Signore, non ostacoli e barriere alla salvezza. Dio vi benedica!]
I welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Finland, Norway, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Canada and the United States of America. I greet in particular the delegation from the NATO Defense College, with good wishes for their efforts in the cause of peace. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!
[Do il benvenuto ai pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti all’Udienza odierna, specialmente a quelli provenienti da Inghilterra, Scozia, Finlandia, Norvegia, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Corea, Australia, Indonesia, Malesia, Filippine, Canada e Stati Uniti d’America. Saluto in particolare la delegazione del NATO Defense College, con fervidi auguri per il loro servizio a favore della pace. Su di voi e sulle vostre famiglie invoco la gioia e la pace del Signore Gesù Cristo. Dio vi benedica!]
Mit Freude heiße ich die Brüder und Schwestern deutscher Sprache willkommen. Insbesondere begrüße ich die Pilger aus Schapen, die Schützen aus Drolshagen-Schreibershof und die vielen Jugendlichen, vor allem die Gruppe der Schulen der Brede. Bitten wir den Herrn, dass er uns immer die neuen Wege erkennen lasse, die er uns öffnet, damit wir das Evangelium in Welt von heute verkünden.
[Sono lieto di accogliere i fratelli e le sorelle di lingua tedesca. Saluto in particolare i pellegrini di Schapen e i Schützen di Drolshagen-Schreibershof, nonché i numerosi giovani, specialmente il gruppo delle scuole di Brede. Chiediamo al Signore di farci sempre riconoscere le nuove vie che ci apre per annunciare il Vangelo nel mondo di oggi.]
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española. Pidamos hoy la gracia de dejarnos sorprender por Dios y de no ser obstáculos a su creatividad, reconociendo y favoreciendo los caminos siempre nuevos por los que Dios derrama su Espíritu en el mundo, para atraer a Él a toda la gente. Que el Señor los bendiga.
Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa e em particular os fiéis das paróquias e associações do Brasil, sede bem-vindos! De coração vos saúdo a todos, confiando ao bom Deus a vossa vida e a dos vossos familiares. Rezai também vós por mim! Que as vossas famílias se reúnam diariamente para a reza do terço sob o olhar da Virgem Mãe, para que nelas não se acabe jamais o óleo da fé e da alegria, que brota da vida dos seus membros em comunhão com Deus! Obrigado!
[Dear Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, especially the faithful of the parishes and associations of Brazil, welcome! I warmly greet you all and entrust your life and that of your family to God. You also pray for me! Your families gather daily for the recitation of the rosary under the gaze of the Virgin Mother, so that in them the oil of faith and joy, which flows from the life of their members in communion with God, will never be exhausted. Thank you!]أرحبُ بالحاضرينَ الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمين من العراق، ومن سوريا، ومن الشرق الأوسط. إن بطرس يعلمنا أن نفتح قلبنا وأن نتحرر من فرديتنا لكي نصنع الخير ونسعَى من أجل لقاءِ القلوبِ مع الله ونتقاسم الحياة مع الآخرين. لنسأل الله أن ينير عقول الذين انغلقوا على أنفسهم حتى يعرفوه، هو الذي يريد خلاص الجميع. ليُبارِكْكُم الرب جميعًا ويَحرُسْكُم دائمًا من الشرير!
[I cordially welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from Iraq, Syria and the Middle East. Peter teaches us to open our hearts and to free ourselves from our individuality in order to do good, encourage the meeting of hearts with the Lord and share life with others. We ask the Lord to enlighten the minds of all those who have shut themselves up, so that they know God who wants the salvation of all. May the Lord bless you all and always protect you from the evil one!]Serdecznie witam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, dziś wspominamy wybór kardynała Karola Wojtyły na Stolicę piotrową. Dziękujemy Panu za każde dobro, jakie dokonało się w Kościele, w świecie i w ludzkich sercach, przez jego słowa, czyny i świętość. Pamiętajmy, że jego wezwanie do otwarcia serc dla Chrystusa jest zawsze aktualne. Przez jego wstawiennictwo proszę Pana o obfite dary Ducha Świętego dla was wszystkich, dla waszych rodzin, wspólnot i dla całego Kościoła. Z serca wam błogosławię.
[I cordially welcome the Polish pilgrims. Dear brothers and sisters, today we commemorate the election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla to the See of Peter. We thank the Lord for every good that has been accomplished in the Church, in the world and in human hearts through the words of John Paul II, his works and his holiness. Let us remember that his call to open hearts to Christ is always timely. Through his intercession I ask the Lord for abundant gifts of the Holy Spirit for all of you, for your families, communities and for the whole Church. I bless you from my heart.]
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I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims.
In particular, I greet the Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity, who celebrate their general chapter, and urge them to make mercy the inspiring criterion for personal and community life.
I greet the Bari Police Headquarters; the Association of mutilated and war disabled, of Ostuni; and the faithful of the parish of Sant’Agata dei Goti. I address a special thought to the pilgrims of San Fele, accompanied by Bishop Mons. Ciro Fanelli, and I wish them that the patron, San Giustino de Jacobis, will help them to be generous heralds of the Gospel.
Finally, I greet the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. After tomorrow we will celebrate the feast of St. Luke, the evangelist who best reveals the heart of Jesus and his mercy. This recurrence helps everyone to rediscover the joy of being Christian, witnesses of the Lord's goodness.
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation