Daily Readings Reflection for 5/12/11


Scripture: Lectionary 276. Acts 8:26-40. Psalm 66:8-9,16-17.20. John

Thursday’s Readings

Philip now is in his full capacity as a proclaimer of the Good News and as
a deacon who baptizes. He also seems to have special powers to heal people.
We are able to reflect on his ministry and his story as told by Luke with
the help of today’s Gospel. The two Scriptural passages of the first
reading and the Gospel help us to meditate upon this great servant of God,
Philip, the deacon.

Philip is helping a eunuch who ministerd to the queen of Ethiopia. Her name
is not given neither is that of the eunuch, but we catch up with both
Philip and the man as they head in the same direction–south!  The eunuch
is reading the prophet Isaiah and that part that gives us the Suffering
Servant hymns. He has chosen the one that speaks of someone as the innocent
lamb who is being prepared for the sacrifice to God. Apparently the man
knew how to read Hebrew but could not make sense of the passage.  Philip
approaches the chariot through the prompting of the Spirit and asks him,
“Do you really grasp what you are reading?”  Not being an exegete nor
having knowledge of hermeneutics, the eunuch tells Philip, “How can I
understand unless someone explains it to me? Please, tell me of whom the
prophet is speaking when he says he was led like a sheep to the slaughter
or a lamb before its shearer. Philip, of course, is so filled with the Holy
Spirit and the recent great news of Jesus explaining the Scriptures to the
apostles and they to him, is able to give the man a full account of who
Jesus is and how he fulfilled the prophets and especially the prophet

When we open the Gospel of John for today’s reading we have a confirmation
of what is happening in Philip and the eunuch.  The Fourth Gospel is a
revelatory Gospel and it gives us the living words of the Word made flesh,
Jesus. Jesus has told us and certainly Philip first, “Everyone who has
heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.” And Jesus stresses what
he means by saying, “Let me firmly assure you, he who believes has eternal
life. I am the Bread of Life.”

The eunuch is so moved and stirred by the words of Philip that he asks for
baptism and receives it from the hands and words of Philip with living
water from a nearby rivulet.  Both now may go on their separate ways.
Philip will go Northwest to Azotus and Caesarea, the eunuch straight
Southwest to Ethiipia.  Their trips are just as quick as the two airlines
that contain their respective directional names. The Spirit is faster than
any jet!

Our Psalm is our prayer: “Blessed be God who refused me not my prayer or
his kindness.” Let us rejoice in the eunuch’s baptism and in our own and
thank God for the gift of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Amen. Alleluiah!


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