April 19, 2018
Well this totally caught my attention today – even though the more significant Scripture today is the second half of the Bread of Life Discourse by Jesus in John’s Gospel, where He says: “I am the living 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.” Jn_6:44-51
(No not cannibalism, beloved, FAITH and Eucharist!)
So here we go . . . In our continuation of the Acts of the Apostles we hear a story today of a man named Philip who was instructed by an angel to go and visit an Ethiopian traveler. Philip found a man totally engrossed in the Book of Isaiah the prophet, and hungry to learn more about what he was reading. Philip enlightened him! And: 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. Acts_8:26-40
Well, Philip certainly had a way of being able to bring Joy to people, as we heard yesterday in his visit to Samaria. But looking a little deeper into this particular Scripture passage, I noticed something very interesting in my (New American Bible).
You see, the eunuch’s question of Philip, “What’s to prevent my being baptized?” was never really answered. Well, guess there wasn’t anything to prevent it, since the next thing they did was to get baptized! But the interesting thing was, that in the quote I showed above, between the eunuch’s question of verse 36 and Philip’s response in verse 38, there IS NO verse 37 (***)! The footnote explains it as never appearing in the original text. But apparently an answer was added sometime later. And then, even later, it was removed. Fortunately they kept that answer, those added words, as a footnote. And they are just absolutely beautiful!!!! The footnote says . . .
[8:37] The oldest and best manuscripts of Acts omit this verse, which is a Western text reading: “And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he said in reply, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’”
Wow! Now there’s a conversion! IMAGINE, if we let Him, what the Holy Spirit can do with us too, beloved! Philip had it! And everywhere he went he left JOY! Are we leaving Joy, or relief that we’re gone? I sure hope it’s not the latter! But if it is, we just keep on praying – “Come Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of your faithful. Enkindle in us the FIRE of your Love!” He WILL! And through our willingness, we can be just as Joy-filled as Philip when we allow the Spirit of the Lord to work through us!
What JOY there is in Jesus!
(Here’s a reference link to some interesting Catholic information I found on Acts 8:37)
______________________end of post