The next day he (Peter) rose and went off with them, and some of the brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his kinsmen and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am a human being (ἄνθρωπός εἰμι).’ And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered; and he said to them, ‘You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit any one of another nation; but God has shown me that I should not call anyone (μηδένα) common (κοινὸν, profane) or unclean…’” (Acts 10: 23-28)

At this point, St. Peter is just beginning to learn about the all-inclusiveness of Christ’s Church, in which “I should not call anyone common or unclean.” Today we continue, nonetheless, to call women “unclean,” – because we’re apparently still processing the lesson St. Peter received so many centuries ago.

Be that as it may, all of humanity is called, in and by Christ, because He “became flesh,” and in communion with Him our “flesh” – be it Greek or Jewish or Russian or American, or male or female, is neither “profane” nor “unclean.” As God reveals to St. Peter earlier in the above-quoted chapter: “What God has cleansed, you must not call common/profane” (Acts 10: 15). United in Christ, we become “human” as He is human, overcoming the sinful divisions within ourselves and with one another. Thank you, Lord, that “I too am a human being,” called and “cleansed” by You.

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