“As I began to address them the Holy Spirit came upon them.” —Acts 11:15
Gentiles, that is, non-Jews, were excluded from the company of Jews. However, the Holy Spirit made it crystal-clear to Peter that he was to enter Cornelius’ house (Acts 11:5ff; 11:12).
The Spirit hadn’t yet instructed Peter what to say to the assembled Gentiles. So Peter “proceeded to address them” with a standard witness to the risen Lord (Acts 10:34ff). Then Peter brought up the subject of sin (Acts 10:43). Based on his previous preaching in Acts, it’s quite possible that Peter’s next words would have involved accountability for sin and the need for deep repentance. Theologically this makes good sense, but the Holy Spirit had a different subject in mind, for the Spirit took over from Peter. “Peter had not finished these words” about forgiveness of sins “when the Holy Spirit descended upon all who were listening to Peter’s message” (Acts 10:44). Although Peter’s Jewish Christian companions were surprised at this turn of events (Acts 10:45), Peter followed “the Spirit’s lead” perfectly (Gal 5:25). Rather than trying to take the floor back from the Holy Spirit and finish his sermon, Peter “gave orders that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:48).
Let us hear the voice of Jesus (Jn 10:16) and thereby learn the voice of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what is the right word at the right time (see e.g. 1 Cor 2:10ff). Like Peter, let us “live by the Spirit” and “follow the Spirit’s lead” (Gal 5:25).
Learning how to bounce back in today’s world offers Christians a strategy for success when trials arrive.
As part of my prayer time, I listen to Father Al Lauer’s “Daily Bread” radio broadcast. I also read the “One Bread, One Body” booklet reflection on the daily Eucharistic readings for the Mass. Father Al, founder of Presentation Ministries, a lay apostolate under the Archbishop in Cincinnati, and a personal friend, died in 2002 of cancer. While I miss him very much, he wrote and taught prolifically. He produced hundreds of pamphlets, videos and audios. His materials offer rich and challenging insights. Teaching in union with the Magesterium of the Church, Father Al unpacks the complex in simple language.
Stewardship–A Story about a King and Three Servants.
The king gave three servants a talent. The first servant earned 10x what the king had given him. The second steward had earned 5x what the king had given him. And the third servant, buried the talent and gave the one talent back to the king. The king got very mad at the third steward and told him what little had been given to him would be taken away. What in the world? What does all this mean for us?
What’s a good steward?
The message God wants us to take away from this parable is to be a good steward. What does that mean? We are to be good managers with what God have given us. Our resources are not only monetary, but our time, abilities and everything. If we have a car that seats 5 people, we had better be filling up those seats. If you have a house for 10 people, you should have 10 people in there. Got a big yard? You had better be using that yard a lot. That seems kind of strict. Doesn’t it? You can see that God is very strict with this.
St. John told Gaius to “demonstrate fidelity” (3 Jn 5) by showing real love through helping and supporting the missionaries John had sent to Gaius’ church (3 Jn 6, 8). To do this would cost Gaius not only time and money but also his reputation (see 3 Jn 10) and his membership in his local church. This is because Diotrephes, the leader of Gaius’ church, threatened to excommunicate anyone who accepted John’s missionaries (3 Jn 10).