Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
The gospel is for everybody
Peter began and explained it to them step by step, saying, “… Just then three men appeared at the house where we were, who had been sent to me from Caesarea. The Spirit told me to accompany them without discriminating. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. He related to us how he had seen (the) angel standing in his house, saying, ‘Send someone to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter, who will speak words to you by which you and all your household will be saved.’ As I began to speak, the holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning, and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the holy Spirit.’ If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?” When they heard this, they stopped objecting and glorified God, saying, “God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.” Acts 11,4-18
The Holy Spirit does things well: his intervention in men’s business are discreet, he tries to give the least inconvenience, and is very respectful of the family and the church unity, the two institutions coming directly out of God’s hands. After the Holy Spirit sent the archangel Gabriel to Mary for the Annunciation, he sends another angel to Joseph in a dream in order to warn him of what happened: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her” (Mt 1,20). After the call of Paul, the apostle to whom the Holy Spirit will entrust the mission to take the lead of evangelization for all nations, the same Spirit first makes Peter live the experience told in today’s page. He can see the Holy Spirit descending on this pagan family, as it had previously descended on the apostles in the Cenacle, and Peter consequently exclaims: “God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too”. This event will be crucial for the future of the church since, when Paul goes to Jerusalem to tell the other apostles that had received the Lord’s mission to spread the Gospel to all the world, Peter will be able to confirm, on the basis of today’s story, that the illumination received by Paul was authentic. The Holy Spirit works the same way in the church of today: in the councils, synods, and also in the Christian families, every time you have to make an important decision. This is the reason why we gathered in prayer around the table in the dining room, the day we were to discern if we should sell the house in Castiglioncello. When we pray together, the Holy Spirit speaks louder and clearer.