During our trip to the Holy Land last month, we were fortunate to have a private mass in St. Peter’s Church in Jaffa. For the Catholics, this is the sacred place where Peter had the vision of a ‘great sheet’. Below is the bible passage which relates of these visions.
The Vision of Cornelius. 1[u] Now in Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Cohort called the Italica,[v] 2devout and God–fearing along with his whole household, who used to give alms generously[w] to the Jewish people and pray to God constantly. 3One afternoon about three o’clock,[x] he saw plainly in a vision an angel of God come in to him and say to him, “Cornelius.” 4He 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.5Now send some men to Joppa and summon one Simon who is called Peter. 6He is staying with another Simon, a tanner, who has a house by the sea.” 7When the angel who spoke to him had left, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier[y] from his staff, 8explained everything to them, and sent them to Joppa. The Vision of Peter. 9[z] The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime.[a]10He was hungry and wished to eat, and while they were making preparations he fell into a trance. 11He saw heaven opened and something resembling a large sheet coming down, lowered to the ground by its four corners. 12In it were all the earth’s four–legged animals and reptiles and the birds of the sky. 13A voice said to him, “Get up, Peter. Slaughter and eat.” 14But Peter said, “Certainly not, sir. For never have I eaten anything profane and unclean.” 15The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you are not to call profane.” 16This happened three times, and then the object was taken up into the sky. 17[b] While Peter was in doubt about the meaning of the vision he had seen, the men sent by Cornelius asked for Simon’s house and arrived at the entrance. 18They called out inquiring whether Simon, who is called Peter, was staying there. 19As Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said [to him], “There are three men here looking for you. 20So get up, go downstairs, and accompany them without hesitation, because I have sent them.” 21Then Peter went down to the men and said, “I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your being here?”22They answered, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God–fearing man, respected by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to summon you to his house and to hear what you have to say.” 23So he invited them in and showed them hospitality.The next day he got up and went with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him. 24[c] On the following day he entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage. 26Peter, however, raised him up, saying, “Get up. I myself am also a human being.” 27While he conversed with him, he went in and found many people gathered together 28and said to them, “You know that it is unlawful for a Jewish man to associate with, or visit, a Gentile, but God has shown me that I should not call any person profane or unclean.[d] 29And that is why I came without objection when sent for. May I ask, then, why you summoned me?”30Cornelius replied, “Four days ago[e] at this hour, three o’clock in the afternoon, I was at prayer in my house when suddenly a man in dazzling robes stood before me and said, 31‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your almsgiving remembered before God. 32Send therefore to Joppa and summon Simon, who is called Peter. He is a guest in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33So I sent for you immediately, and you were kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to listen to all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” Peter’s Speech. [f] 34Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,[g] “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. 35Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. 36[h] You know the word [that] he sent to the Israelites[i] as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, 37what has happened all over Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached, 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth[j] with the holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses[k] of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and (in) Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree. 40This man God raised (on) the third day and granted that he be visible, 41not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead.[l]43To him all the prophets bear witness, that everyone who believes in him will receive forgiveness of sins through his name.” The Baptism of Cornelius. 44While Peter was still speaking these things, the holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the word.[m] 45The circumcised believers who had accompanied Peter were astounded that the gift of the holy Spirit should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, 46for they could hear them speaking in tongues and glorifying God. Then Peter responded, 47“Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people, who have received the holy Spirit even as we have?” 48He ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for a few days.