The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 10:34a, 37-43 for Easter Sunday (Year B)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 3, 2012

Text in red are my additions. I’ve also included notes on verses 35-36, not part of the reading.

34. And Peter opening his mouth, said : In very deed I perceive, that God is not a respecter of persons.
35. But in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh justice, is acceptable to him.

In these verses Peter declares that difference of nationality among peoples is of no weight with God, and that all, Jews or Gentiles, are equally acceptable to Him, provided they be equally just and right-living.

36. God sent the word to the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all.)
37. You know the word which hath been published through all Judea: for it began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached,
38. Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost, and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

The meaning, in brief, of these verses, as gathered from the Greek, is this: You know the Gospel of salvation and redemption which God, through Jesus Christ (the Lord of all), sent first to the Jewish people, which has been published through all Judea, beginning with Galilee, after John’s baptism,—you know, I mean that the word, the announcement, was made by Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power, etc. Peter wishes to say that the salvation and redemption which Christ brought to the world was for all, Jews and Gentiles, and that Cornelius, living at Caesarea, not far away, must have heard of the preaching and miracles of the Saviour.

How God anointed him. Anointing was a ceremony used in the inauguration of kings and prophets, and in the consecration of priests. It signified the communication of power and authority. Christ, as man, was anointed with the Holy Ghost in the first moment of His incarnation; that is to say, by force of the hypostatic union of the human and divine natures in Christ, the sacred humanity of our Lord, from the first moment of His incarnation, possessed the fulness of the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

39. And we are witnesses of all things that he did in the land of the Jews
and in Jerusalem, whom they killed, hanging him upon a tree.
40. Him God raised up the third day, and gave him to be made manifest.

Father Callan offers no comment on these verses, so I’ve decided to add a few notes.

We are witnesses. An essential element in Luke’s 2 volume narrative of the Gospel and Acts of Apostles from the very start (see Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:16-22. See also Luke 24:44-48; Acts 2:32, Acts 3:15, Acts 5:32).

That he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. What happened in Jerusalem was not meant to stay in Jerusalem (Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:39).

Whom they killed, hanging him upon a tree. Him God raised up. The essential kerygma (proclamation) of the witnesses (Acts 2:23-24; Acts 3:13-15; Acts 4:10; Acts 5:30).

And gave him to be made manifest. I.e., allowed or caused him to be seen.

41. Not to all the people, but to witnesses preordained by God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he arose again from the dead;

From this verse we learn that God chose beforehand the witnesses of the truth of our Lord’s Resurrection. To be a witness of so great an event was not the privilege of those who had been perverse and stubborn in rejecting the light, but of that limited number who had been made worthy.

Not to all the people, but to the witnesses preordained by God….who did eat and drink with him after he arose…Included in the “not to all” would be Judas who was not “preordained” to eat and drink with Jesus after he arose.

42. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God, to be judge of the living and of the dead.

He who was appointed by God, to be judge of the living and of the dead. The Greek word translated here as “appointed” is ωρισμενος, from the root ὁρίζω.  The word recalls our Lord’s statement in Luke 22:22~The Son of man indeed goeth, according to that which is determined (ωρισμενον): but yet, woe to that man by whom he shall be betrayed. The word is used again in Acts 2:23~This same being delivered up, by the determinate ( ωρισμενη) counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain. Judas and those he joined in league with will have to face the Risen Lord as judge, as will all who reject the witness of his messengers, for that witness is a judgement-for good or ill-depending upon the response (Luke 10:8-16; Luke 11:29-32; Acts 13:38-41; Acts 13:46-48; Acts 17:30-31). In this last passage note the use of the word “appointed” in reference to Jesus as judge: Because he hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in equity, by the man whom he hath appointed (ωρισεν).

43. To him all the prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him.

All the prophets; i.e., many of them, such as Jeremias, Isaias, Ezechiel, etc., or all of them, either directly or indirectly, bore testimony to Christ, and affirmed that His salvation should be for all, Jews and Gentiles, and that all could participate in the fruits of the redemption provided they believed in Jesus Christ. Peter, therefore, to prepare Cornelius and his household for the grace of Baptism, gives a brief outline (verses 37-43) of the life, death, and Resurrection of Christ, and of the conditions necessary whereby both Jews and Gentiles may have part in the redemption wrought by Jesus.

One Response to “Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 10:34a, 37-43 for Easter Sunday (Year B)”

  1. […] Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Acts 10:34a, 37-43). […]

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