April 22, 2021
Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip,
“Get up and head south on the road
that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.”
So he got up and set out.
Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch,
a court official of the Candace,
that is, the queen of the Ethiopians,
in charge of her entire treasury,
who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.
Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
“Go and join up with that chariot.”
Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said,
“Do you understand what you are reading?”
“How can I, unless someone instructs me?”
So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.
This was the Scripture passage he was reading:
Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will tell of his posterity?
For his life is taken from the earth.
Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply,
“I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this?
About himself, or about someone else?”
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage,
he proclaimed Jesus to him.
As they traveled along the road
they came to some water,
and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water.
What is to prevent my being baptized?”
Then he ordered the chariot to stop,
and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water,
and he baptized him.
When they came out of the water,
the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away,
and the eunuch saw him no more,
but continued on his way rejoicing.
Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news
to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
Jesus said to the crowds:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They shall all be taught by God.
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will givei
s my Flesh for the life of the world.”
Last Thursday I shared with you how I come up with my homilies. Basically, if you recall, it was all about giving everything over to the Holy Spirit. It meant nothing how much time I spent on my homily in preparation, it only mattered what the Holy Spirit wanted to say.
Today, we hear Jesus talking about how the Father wants to teach us – how he draws us to him and teaches us. How does that work exactly? He draws us to Jesus through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is in everything.
We need to learn to obey the Holy Spirit.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel that he is the bread of life. For we who are Catholic we have no idea what that means. Not so, for our brothers and sisters of other Faiths. As humans, we really strive for provability. And they look at this saying of Jesus and gravitate to something provable. They naturally go to it meaning his word. It is his word that feeds us in knowledge. We cannot grow in our Faith without his word and as he says, “They shall be taught by God”.
God draws us to Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Jesus teaches the Word of God. We must be obedient to the Holy Spirit. That’s the lesson I had to learn in forming my homilies. Trust the Holy Spirit.
But he is very clear about what is truly the food he gives us.
“I am the bread of life.”
“I am the bread that came down from Heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the Life of the World.”
He’s not talking about teaching by Word. He’s talking about exactly what we celebrate every time we celebrate the Mass here at this altar. His body and his blood. And how does the hosts and wine become the body and blood? By the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is involved in everything God and the Son do.
We must trust and obey the Spirit.
In the first reading we see this played out by Philip being told by an angel to get up and go toward Gaza. He does so without hesitation. Along the route he sees a chariot and the Spirit moves Philip to approach and he hears the Eunuch of the Queen of Ethiopia reading aloud. Philip asks him if he understands what he is reading. He invites Philip into the chariot and Philip teaches him as the Holy Spirit intended all along.
Philip baptizes the Eunuch and is immediately whisked away by the Spirit to where he was originally called to go – with one little detour for the Spirit.
We must trust the Holy Spirit. A lesson I had trouble learning early on but eventually the Spirit will convince you.
Learn from the Spirit and allow yourself to grow in your Faith.
Trust the Spirit and be introduced to everlasting life – as Philip, who trusted the Spirit totally was able to introduce the eunuch to in the Acts reading today.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…