Sunday, July 10, 2016
Acts, Chapter 10, verse 1-4
1 Now in Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Cohort called the Italica, 2 devout and God-fearing along with his whole household, who used to give alms generously to the Jewish people and pray to God constantly. 3 One afternoon about three o’clock, he saw plainly in a vision an angel of God come in to him and say to him, “Cornelius.” 4 He looked intently at him and, seized with fear, said, “What is it, sir?” He said to him, “Your prayers and almsgiving have ascended as a memorial offering before God.
Cornelius’ Cohort was an auxiliary unit of archers, men who are expert at hitting a mark or target.
Sin is the act of violating God's will. Sin can also be viewed as anything that violates the ideal relationship between an individual and God; or as any diversion from the ideal order for human living. To sin has been defined as "to miss the mark" to have a hardened heart, a loss of love for God, a disposition of the heart to depart from God because of inordinate self-love
Cornelius walked with God because he lived the Shema Israel. Every day, every action of his was metaphorically target practice aiming to love God as he understood Him with his whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Cornelius exemplifies the proper attitude toward wealth and was completely occupied with good deeds and almsgiving.
Cornelius was a non-Jew who would have been regarded as a righteous gentile and is assured a place in the world to come if he knowingly or even unknowingly followed the seven Noahide laws as traditionally enumerated which are:
1. Do not deny God.
2. Do not blaspheme God.
3. Do not murder.
4. Do not engage in incestuous, adulterous or homosexual relationships.
5. Do not steal.
6. Do not eat of a live animal.
7. Establish courts/legal system to ensure law and obedience.
Instruction on Calumny
Is calumny a grievous sin? When the occasion is important, and the slander is deliberately uttered, with evil intention, when one’s neighbor is thereby grievously injured, and his good name damaged, every one may see how grievous and detestable, in such a case, this sin is.
Is it sinful to disclose the faults of our neighbor? To make public the faults and sins of our neighbor uselessly, merely for the entertainment of idle persons, is always sinful. But if, after trying in vain to correct his faults and sins by brotherly admonition, we make them known to his parents or superiors, for his punishment and amendment, so far from being a sin, it is rather a good work and a duty of Christian charity.
Is it a sin also to listen willingly to calumny? Yes; for thereby we furnish the calumniator an occasion for sin and give him encouragement. For which reason St. Bernard says: “Whether to calumniate be a greater sin than to listen to the calumniator I will not lightly decide.”
What ought to restrain us from calumny? The thought, 1, of the enormity of this sin; 2, of the number of sins occasioned thereby of which the calumniator, as the occasion of them, becomes partaker; 3, of the difficulty of correcting the harm done, since we cannot know the full extent of the injury, nor stop the tongues of people. Finally, we must think on the eternal punishment which follows this sin. The holy Fathers say that of young persons who are condemned the greater part is for impurity, but of the old, for calumny.
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