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.
Today’s reading begins by saying that the “angel of the Lord spoke to Philip”. Philip listened to the angel and responded promptly. I believe that the Lord speaks to us in our hearts and through our conscience every day of our lives. I call that my “inner voice” or “a gut feeling”. I am trying to learn how to trust that voice inside of me more and more. When I do respond there usually is grace that follows.
Philip followed the angel’s voice to go up to the chariot of the court official, who was reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip was able to explain the Scriptures to him and it gave him a chance to share about Jesus to the man. This stirred such a desire in the court official that he wanted to be baptized as soon as he saw some water on the side of the road. What a great story of evangelization and acting upon the promptings of the Holy Spirit!
The Lord wants to do similar things in and through us. He wants to use us as His instrument of evangelization. We too can explain the Scriptures to people if we study them and prepare our minds. We too can light hearts on fire for Jesus Christ if we pray and prepare our hearts. We too can lead others to baptism, the Eucharist and confession if we continually participate in the Sacramental life of the Church ourselves.
Wouldn’t that be great if you were used by God like Philip?
Do you spend time in prayer each day getting to know Jesus, especially in the Gospels?
Do you spend time in study each day, deepening your understanding of the faith?
Is your heart on fire as you learn more about the love and mercy of Jesus Christ?
Heavenly Father, we thank you and praise you today for this wonderful story of Philip, who listened attentively to your call and followed You unreservedly. You worked miracles through him and lit hearts on fire. I want to be your instrument as well, Lord. I want to bring others to you through the sharing of my own faith. Help me to be your voice to the world today. Help me to reflect you to all those I encounter today. Light my heart on fire with your love so that I can pass on this flame to others.