A devout, God-fearing centurion named Cornelius lived in Caesarea.
One day, Cornelius saw an angel of God in a vision. The angel told him to send some men to Joppa to summon Peter, who was staying there.
The next day, as Cornelius’ friends neared Joppa, Peter also had a vision.
He saw a large sheet being lowered to the ground. In it were all the creatures of the earth.
He heard a voice telling him to kill and eat the animals.
“Certainly not, sir,” Peter said. “For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.”
“What God has made clean, you are not to call profane,” the voice said.
As Peter wondered what the vision meant, Cornelius’ friends arrived.
The Holy Spirit told Peter to accompany the men without hesitation. So Peter welcomed the men, showed them hospitality and left with them the next day.
A day later, Peter and the men arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them, so he had invited his family and close friends to be there.
“You know that it is unlawful for a Jewish man to associate with, or visit, a gentile, but God has shown me that I should not call any person profane or unclean,” Peter told Cornelius and his family and friends. “And that is why I came without objection when sent for.”
Cornelius then described his vision.
“Now, therefore, we are all here in the presence of God to listen to all that you have been commanded by the Lord,” he said.
Peter looked at those gathered before him.
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation, whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him,” he said.
Peter told them about Jesus’ life, ministry and death, and how the apostles were commissioned to preach to the people that Jesus is the Messiah.
“To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name,” he said.
As Peter spoke, the Holy Spirit fell upon the people, and they were baptized in Jesus’ name.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. What did the angel tell Cornelius to do?
2. Who did Peter say was acceptable to God?
ESSAY: Describe a time when you trusted God.
In the Gospel of Mark, we read about another time the Holy Spirit descended upon a person.
John the Baptist was preaching in the desert, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
This fulfilled a prophesy about the Messiah found in the Book of Isaiah: “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.'”
People from all around Judea came to be baptized by John in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.
“One mightier than I is coming after me,” John told them. “I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
One day, Jesus came to be baptized by John.
When Jesus came out of the water after being baptized, John saw the heavens being torn open and the Holy Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Jesus.
And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
SPOTLIGHT ON THE SAINTS:
St. Francis de Sales
St. Francis de Sales was born in 1567 in the Duchy of Savoy, which is now France. He studied at Annecy, Paris and Padua, and he was ordained a priest in 1593.
For four years, he reconverted Catholics who had become Calvinists and wrote tracts to explain the basics of the faith. He also preached in Paris and wrote two devotional books that are still read today.
In 1602, he was named bishop of Geneva and set about reforming and organizing his new diocese. He also founded the Order of the Visitation with his friend, St. Jane Frances de Chantal.
St. Francis died in 1622, and we remember him on Jan. 24.
Unscramble the letters in each word and arrange them to form a quotation from the children’s story.
ihm seengisovrf veebslie niss yoveerne liwl ni vicreee how fo
Answers: him, forgiveness, believes, sins, everyone, will, in, receive, who, of
Everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins.