Dear brothers and sisters: In our catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, we have seen how the outpouring of the Holy Spirit led the early Church to realize that God’s offer of salvation in Christ is intended for people of every nation. A critical moment in this process takes place when, in a dream, Saint Peter is told that henceforth no food is unclean in God’s eyes. Almost immediately, a Gentile, the Roman centurion Cornelius, comes to Peter and, while hearing him preach the Gospel, receives, together with his household, the gift of the Holy Spirit and is baptized (cf. Acts 10). These events led Peter to open his mind and heart to the “creativity” with which God was extending to all people the blessings promised to Israel. Peter’s discernment of God’s universal saving will was the mark of a true evangelizer, who desires to share the joy of the Gospel with everyone. Peter’s example also challenges us to examine our own openness to the surprising creativity with which the Holy Spirit is even now drawing all people to salvation in the Risen Lord.
The Pope also greeted the various English-speaking groups present at the Audience:
I welcome all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Scotland, Finland, Norway, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Canada and the United States of America. I greet in particular the delegation from the NATO Defense College, with good wishes for their efforts in the cause of peace. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!