ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
There was in Caesarea a man named Cornelius, captain of what was called the Italian Battalion.
He was a religious and God-fearing man together with his whole household.
He gave generously to the people and constantly prayed to God.
One afternoon at about three he had a vision in which he clearly saw an angel of God coming towards him and calling him,
He stared at the vision with awe and said,
“What is it, sir?”
And the angel answered,
“Your prayers and your alms have just been recalled before God.
Now send some men to Joppa and summon a certain Simon also known as Peter; he is the guest of Simon, a tanner, who lives beside the sea.”
As soon as the angel who spoke to him departed,
Cornelius called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those attached to his service,
and after having explained everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.
The next day, while they were on their journey and and approaching the city, Peter went up to the roof at about noon to pray.
He became hungry and wished to eat,but while they were preparing food, he fell into a trance.
The heavens were opened to him and he saw an object that looked like a large sheet coming down, until it rested on the ground by its four corners.
In it were all kinds of four-legged animals of the earth, reptiles and birds.
Then a voice said to him,
“Get up, Peter, kill and eat!”
But Peter replied,
“Certainly not, Lord!
I have never eaten any defiled or unclean creature.”
And again a second time the voice spoke,
“What God has made clean, you must not call unclean.”
This happened three times and then the sheet was taken up again into the sky.
While Peter was still puzzling over the meaning of the vision he had seen,
the messengers of Cornelius arrived at the gate asking for the house of Simon.
They called out to inquire whether Simon, also known as Peter, was staying there.
At that moment, as Peter continued pondering on the vision, the Spirit spoke to him,
“There are men looking for you;
get up and go downstairs and follow them without hesitation, for I have sent them.”
So Peter went and said to the men,
“I am the one you are looking for.
What brings you here?”
“He who sent us is Captain Cornelius.
He is an upright and God-fearing man, well respected by all the Jewish people.
He has been instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, so that he may listen to what you have to say.” So Peter invited them in and put them up for the night.
The next day he went off with them and some of the believers from Joppa accompanied him.
The following day, he arrived in Caesarea where Cornelius was expecting them; he called together his relatives and close friends.
As Peter was about to enter, Cornelius went to him, fell on his knees and bowed low.
But Peter lifted him up saying,
“Stand up, for I too am a human being.”
After talking with him, Peter entered and found many people assembled there.
Then he said to them, “You know that it is forbidden for Jews to associate with anyone of another nation or to enter their houses.
But God has made it clear to me that no one should call any person common or unclean; because of this I came at once when I was sent for.
Now I should like to know why you sent for me.”
Cornelius then answered,
“Just three days ago at this time, about three in the afternoon,
I was praying in my house when a man in shining clothes stood before me and said to me:
‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer, and your alms have been remembered before him.
Send someone, therefore, to Joppa and ask for Simon, also known as Peter, who is guest at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.
So I sent for you at once and you have been kind enough to come.
Now we are all here in God’s presence,
waiting to hear all that the Lord has commanded you to say.”
Peter then spoke to them,
“Truly, I realise that God does not show partiality,
but in all nations he listens to everyone who fears God and does good.
And this is the message he has sent to the children of Israel,
the good news of peace he has proclaimed through Jesus Christ, who is the Lord of all.
No doubt you have heard of the event that occurred throughout the whole country of the Jews, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism John preached.
You know how God anointed Jesus the Nazarean with Holy Spirit and power.
He went about doing good and healing all who were under the devil’s power,
because God was with him;
we we are witnesses of all that he did throughout the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem itself.
Yet they put him to death by hanging him on a wooden cross.
But God raised him to life on the third day and let him manifest himself,
not to all the people, but to the witnesses that were chosen beforehand by God
– to us who ate and drank with him after his resurrection from death.
And he commanded us to preach to the people and to bear witness that he is the one appointed by God to judge the living and the dead.
All the prophets say of him, that everyone who believes in him has Forgiveness of sins through his Name.’
Peter was still speaking when the Holy Spirit came upon all who listened to the Word.
And the believers of Jewish origin who had come with Peter were amazed,
“Why! God gives and pours the Holy Spirit on foreigners also!”
For indeed this happened:
they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter declared,
“Can we refuse to baptise with water these people who have received the Holy Spirit, just as we have?”
So he had them baptised in the name of Jesus Christ.
After that they asked him to remain with them for some days.