April 18, 2013
Acts 8: 26-40
Then an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
“Who will tell of his posterity?”
The Suffering Servant did not “open his mouth”, but on this day Philip does. The Ethiopian eunuch was puzzling over this passage from the prophet, Isaiah, when sent by an angel of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, Philip turns up on the same road.
The Jesuits have an expression, “you go in their door and bring them out yours.” Philip stepped into the euncuh’s chariot, “then opened his mouth and, beginning with this scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him.” Philip must have made quite an inspiring and compelling case about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, and his “posterity”, that is, the rapidly growing community of believers living together for their common good and the good of those around them. As soon as the eunuch saw the water along the route, he wanted to be baptized, to join Philip in belonging to Christ.
Each year at the Easter Vigil my parish does all the readings and psalms, some in English, some in Spanish, savoring and anticipating the return of light and alleluias to the sanctuary while the story of our salvation is proclaimed. When finally the trumpets and choir begin ¡Resucitó! light fills the church, bells start ringing and the place comes alive with clapping and dancing. The joy of the newly baptized and confirmed infects the whole assembly, and the sacraments of our initiation are renewed. Our sense of belonging to Christ and to each other, past, present, and future is deepened.
Recall those who inspired your own journey of faith, helping you draw closer to Jesus, and to his body, the Church. Then ask the Lord in prayer, how has he used you to inspire others you encountered along the way? How might he today? Rejoice!
—Jenéne Francis, Provincial Assistant for Pastoral Ministries, Chicago-Detroit Province and Wisconsin Province
Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven, exult, let Angel ministers of God exult, let the trumpet of salvation sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph! Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King, let all corners of the earth be glad, knowing an end to gloom and darkness. Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of his glory, let this holy building shake with joy, filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.
—from the Exsultet, the Easter Vigil Proclamation
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