The Easter Sunday readings, the same in the ABC cycle each year, begin in the house of Cornelius the ‘Roman centurion. The narrative is as much about the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus and the whole of the kerygmak, as it is a incident about the first encounter with the Greek-Roman world. Here the apostles are taking the gospel at Jesus’ command to the whole world. The encounter in Acts 10 is really amazing.

Peter assumes at the outset that Cornelius and his household has heard of all that has happened in Jerusalem; this is why Cornelius sends for Peter in the first place. Peter recites the core story, almost unadorned with no excess language, of Jesus. The origin of Jesus, his ministry, his crucifixion, the resurrection, his appearance, and the great commission.

The great commission is to proclaim this fundamental truth to everyone. It is not an exclusive or ethnic faith, transcending all wall, doors, thresholds, and borders.

The result is the baptism and confirmation and eucharist for the household of Cornelius. We are left with several questions: the need for the Catholic Church to repent its racist ways, the hunger Catholics for the Eucharist after this months of shelter in place and social distancing, the efficacy of the church’s preaching/homiletics, and the capacity for Catholics for knowledge of this core kergyma.

Sadly, too many priests, will begin Easter with a fake humor which upbraids the reindeer and rabbit crowd. Instead of taking the moment to have a word that speaks the resurrection and this great forgiveness of sins. This is Easter!

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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