The Epiphany (last Sunday) was about revealing that foreigners, Gentiles are included in God’s plan of salvation. The Baptism of the Lord (this Sunday) is kind of like Epiphany, Part 2. How? Because Sunday’s readings show us what it means when foreigners are included, and they tell us how it’s going to happen.
The Epistle (Acts) has Peter speaking at the house of Cornelius. Who’s Cornelius? The verses leading up to the Epistle tell us that Cornelius is a leader in the Roman army, and that he is “God-fearing” and gives generously.
It’s easy to talk about including others from a distance. It’s a lot harder to move to the real and the personal and actually do it. Cornelius isn’t a nice person over there somewhere, he’s a leader in the foreign army that’s occupying Peter’s home town.
And that’s the context for what Peter is saying.
As for how it’s going to happen, more on that tomorrow.