Reflection: When the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles, in what way was it similar to what happened on the Pentecost? What is the significance and impact of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the faithful?
Prayer:Ask for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that you can approach life with a new attitude. Ask God for grace so that when someone asks you about your faith, you can answer them with confidence and patience, and to lead them to conversion.
Action: Imitate Peter to accept new understanding in the spiritual dimension; change the way you approach others and be open to accept standpoints that are different from yours regarding politics, social issues, and religions.
Acts of the Apostles
The Baptism of the Gentiles Explained.
Now the apostles and the brothers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem the circumcised believers confronted him, 3saying, “You entered* the house of uncircumcised people and ate with them.” 4 Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying, 5 “I was at prayer in the city of Joppa when in a trance I had a vision, something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered from the sky by its four corners, and it came to me. 6 Looking intently into it, I observed and saw the four-legged animals of the earth, the wild beasts, the reptiles, and the birds of the sky. 7 I also heard a voice say to me, ‘Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.' 8 But I said, ‘Certainly not, sir, because nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.' 9 But a second time a voice from heaven answered, ‘What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.' 10 This happened three times, and then everything was drawn up again into the sky. 11 Just then three men appeared at the house where we were, who had been sent to me from Caesarea. 12 The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating. These six brothers* also went with me, and we entered the man's house. 13 He related to us how he had seen (the) angel standing in his house, saying, ‘Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter, 14 who will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.' 15 As I began to speak, the holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning, 16 and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.' 17 If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?”e 18When they heard this, they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying, “God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.”
The Church at Antioch.
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews.f 20There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however, who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. 21 The hand of the Lord was with them and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. 22 The news about them reached the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas [to go] to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, 24 for he was a good man, filled with the holy Spirit and faith. And a large number of people was added to the Lord. 25 Then he went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he had found him he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a large number of people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.
The Prediction of Agabus.
27 At that time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch, 28 and one of them named Agabus stood up and predicted by the Spirit that there would be a severe famine all over the world, and it happened under Claudius. 29 So the disciples determined that, according to ability, each should send relief to the brothers who lived in Judea. 30 This they did, sending it to the presbyters in care of Barnabas and Saul.
Teaching from Fr. Francis Ching (Traditional and Simplified Chinese subtitles are available):
Source: Chinese Martyrs Catholic Church (Toronto) – Bible Study Program – 2006-2007 – Edmond Lo
The Two Turning Points in the Realization of the Catholic Church
- Peter accepts and helps the Gentiles to convert to Christianity.
- Peter uses Antioch as the base for evangelizing to the Gentiles; it has become Paul's home base for evangelization, too.
- Note the early Church and today's Church are run exactly the same way: centralized power structure.
Acts of the Apostles
The Baptism of the Gentiles Explained. / The Church at Antioch. / The Prediction of Agabus.
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