Above: Peter Baptizing Cornelius the Centurion, by Franceso Trevasani, 1709
Image in the Public Domain
The Faith of a Gentile
The Listed Lections for This Feast Day:
Psalm 67 or Psalm 33:1-5, 20-21
O God, by your Spirit you 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; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
St. Cornelius was a centurion, or Roman officer who commanded 100 men. Centurions were respected military men and Roman citizens renowned for courage and competence. St. Cornelius was one of the Gentile God-fearers, who worshiped the one God of Judaism. He received a divine revelation, and summoned St Peter, whom he helped to recognize the equality of Jewish and Gentile believers, and accepted baptism.
The baptism of St. Cornelius and his household at Caesarea was a pivotal event in the movement to welcome Gentiles as equals within nascent Christianity.
The household of St. Cornelius became the nucleus of the first Christian Church at Caesarea, the city where he became the second Bishop. Acts 8:40 and 21:8 contain references to this congregation.
Here is my rhetorical question: Who are our “Gentiles” today?
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JUNE 12, 2010
THE FEAST OF ENMEGAHBOWH, EPISCOPAL PRIEST
Revised on November 27, 2016