Scripture: Lectionary #276. 4/26/12. Acts 8:26-40. Psalm 66:8-9.16-17.20. John 6:44-51

Thursday's Readings 

Luke has as one of his principal themes the Holy Spirit. Often this is rendered just as Spirit or Spirit of Jesus in the Acts. In the early tradition of the Christians it was also considered the power of God through this word Spirit.  For us, in reading Luke-Acts the rendering of Holy Spirit is helpful as we meditate on these texts from the Acts of the Apostles.  The scene about Philip and the eunuch leads us to see that the Holy Spirit has already been active in the deacon and probably the apostle Philip (the same person?).  Words show the dynamism of the Spirit which blows where the Spirit wills. In our passage we learn that Philip “launches into his interpretation of the passage from Isaiah—one of the Suffering Servant hymns in Deutero-Isaiah. At the end of the baptism of the eunuch we hear of the Holy Spirit “snatching” Philip away and he lands in Azotus. Incidentally, this is the first African to be converted to the Christian faith through the baptism administered by Philip. We know of the apostle Philip through John’s Gospel and also here in Acts chapter six and the present chapter. The Holy Spirit acts promptly and propels people into action for the service of the Body of Christ, the Church.  Peace, joy, and effectiveness are signs that the Spirit is present. The sacrament of Baptism is paralleled with Jesus’ discourse on the Eucharist which continues throughout chapter six of the Fourth Gospel. Jesus proclaims, “Let me assure you, he who believes in me has eternal life. I am the Bread of Life.”

During the Easter season these two sacraments continue to be the theme of many of our liturgical readings both in the daily prayer of the Church and in the celebration of the Eucharist. They continue to deepen our life by increasing our love for Jesus and for one another. The universalism of Luke is seen in the story of the eunuch seeking baptism from Philip. We join in thanks with the Response of the Psalm: “Let all the earth cry out with joy to the Lord.”  Amen. Alleluia. Alleluia.