The first reading this Sunday comes from the Acts of the Apostles – the source of our First Readings on Sundays and weekdays throughout the coming season of Easter.
This narrative tells the story of the early Church forming and developing in the first days, weeks and years after the Resurrection. It tells of our story and our mission – and of the Good News we bear.
Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: ‘You must have heard about the recent happenings in Judaea; about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil. Now I, and those with me, can witness to everything he did throughout the countryside of Judaea and in Jerusalem itself: and also to the fact that they killed him by hanging him on a tree, yet three days afterwards God raised him to life and allowed him to be seen, not by the whole people but only by certain witnesses God had chosen beforehand. Now we are those witnesses – we have eaten and drunk with him after his resurrection from the dead – and he has ordered us to proclaim this to his people and to tell them that God has appointed him to judge everyone, alive or dead. It is to him that all the prophets bear this witness: that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name.’
What a witness!
- What of the Lord’s work are we witness to?
- Where and to whom might we be his witnesses?
- And why? What is it that we might do by witnessing to the Lord and his merciful love?
Mosaic pavement in Caesarea Martima, Israel – the place of meeting between Peter and Cornelius (though not necessarily on this floor!) (c) Allen Morris, 2007