Through Lent with Pope Francis
At a time when various forms of fundamentalist intolerance are damaging relationships between individuals, groups and peoples, let us be committed to living and teaching the value of respect for others, a love capable of welcoming differences, and the priority of the dignity of every human being over his or her ideas, opinions, practices and even sins. Even as forms of fanaticism, closed-mindedness and social and cultural fragmentation proliferate in present-day society, a good politician will take the first step and insist that different voices be heard.”Frateli Tutti
Acts 8:26-39 NCB
Then the angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and head south along the road that leads from Jerusalem down to Gaza, the desert road.” Therefore, he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, an official at the court of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was now returning home. As he sat in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.
Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join that chariot.” When Philip ran up, he heard him reading from the prophet Isaiah, and he asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
He replied, “How can I, unless I have someone to instruct me?”
Then he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.
This was the Scripture passage he had been reading:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter;
like a lamb that is silent before its shearer
he did not open his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who will be able to speak of his posterity?
For his life on earth has been taken away.”
Then the eunuch said to Philip, “Please tell me, about whom is the prophet speaking—about himself or someone else?” And so Philip, starting with this text of Scripture, proceeded to explain to him the good news of Jesus.
As they were traveling along the road, they came to some water.
The eunuch said, “Look, here is some water. What is to prevent me from being baptised?”
And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”
The eunuch said in reply, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptised him.
When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but he went on his way rejoicing.
Thought for Today
One of the enriching elements of our generation is the great proliferation of people from all over the world that is now found in our big cities. Although it can be a challenge to see culture change, we can also notice new vibrancy in many of our churches and institutions.
However, this is hardly a new phenomenon. Philip, the disciple, a Jew with a Greek name, meets an rich African eunuch on the road. He is encouraged by the Spirit to reach out to the stranger, which he does successfully.
Could the Spirit be encouraging you to reach out to someone you don’t know? Maybe someone from a different culture?
The Summons – sung in St Andrew’s RC Cathedral, Glasgow, written by John Bell