The Cornelius Reception in Acts 10 is arguably the most important and significant Baptism story in the New Testament, second only to the dramatic baptism of Jesus himself in River Jorday. This baptism event opens the way for the mission of the church to the Gentiles. Here we have highly unlikely encounter of a Galilean fisherman, Peter, with a Roman Centurion, Cornelius, in very unusual circumstances. This leads to Peter saying, “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.”

Yet we humans walk around confused and in sin about racial prejudice, bigotry, and our own overinflated sense of superiority. The U.S. church today is rampant with racial prejudice and the privilege of white people whose millennial and get x, y, z children are far from the church and discipleship.

Baptism calls to our attention that now belong to a very different family indeed, the household of God in which all the peoples are a place at the common table. This element of baptism is rarely mentioned, preoccupied as we are with original sin and the fiery pit of hell towards which we are headed when we live with and nurtured prejudice and racism.

The homiletic theme here his the universality of the church’s mission and the Eucharist and Holy Spirit come for all.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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