In today's reading, Luke provides us with two stories. The first is the story of Cornelius calling for Peter and the second is Peter's vision. Let's have a quick look at both of these stories and attempt to understand why Luke shared them with us.
A common question regarding salvation is, what will happen to the people who have never heard about Christ? In today's first story, we are told about a man named Cornelius. Cornelius was not a follower of Christ - in fact he may never have heard of Jesus Christ. However, Cornelius was seeking God as we are told in verse 2, "He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly." As a result, God sends Peter to Cornelius to tell him and his household about Christ. Cornelius is an example of someone who found God by sincerely seeking Him. This story illustrates that God will answer the sincere prayers of those who seek Him by sending the right person, or the right information, to the seeker at the right time. This goes for a Roman soldier or for any of us today.
The second story in today's reading has to do with a vision God gave to Peter. During the time when Peter lived, Jewish law contained strict dietary rules. These rules made it difficult for Jews to eat with Gentiles without risking defilement. In fact, along the vein of you are what you eat, Jews often thought of Gentiles as being unclean. But verse 15 clearly countermands this perception, "... Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." This vision showed Peter that he should not look upon Gentiles as inferior people whom God would not save. This vision cleared Peter's conscience and made him realize that he not only could go into a Gentile's home to preach the Gospel, but that he should go in.
So in today's reading we have two stories. The first corroborating the old saying, seek and ye shall find, and the second telling us that God made everything and everyone and thus there is no place we should fear going to spread the Word.