Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
Memorial Feast: Saint Anselm, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (c.1033-+1109) Patron Saint of Benedictines
Acts of the Apostles 8:1b-8, Psalm 66:1-7& John 6:35-40
St. Philip by Peter Paul Rubens, circa 1611
Have you ever wondered how the apostles felt when they witnessed most of their flock fleeing Jerusalem after an angry mob had stoned to death our good Saint Stephen?
Incredibly, they acted like “captains on a sinking ship,” as they remained in a Jerusalem rocked by persecution while all except the apostles scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Were the apostles discouraged when their efforts to plant the Good News in Jerusalem had wilted and died overnight? Or perhaps mindful of their flight after Jesus of Nazareth was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, did the apostles trust that God’s will could be enacted through authentic human freedom?
The evangelist Luke, who authored the Acts of the Apostles, the flight of the first Christians, served to spread the Good News from Jerusalem. Rather than an act of cowardice, the early Christians fleeing from Jerusalem fulfill the prophetic words of the Risen Jesus at the Ascension. Namely, the Risen Christ tells the apostles (and through them the entire community of believers) that when the power of the Holy Spirit comes on you, then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Philip’s ministry among the Samaritans provides the first example of preaching the Word outside of Jerusalem. In the name of Jesus, Philip preaches the Good News and works miracles among the Samaritans. Following Jesus’ example, Philip reaches out to the Samaritans, who were outcast people on the margins of polite society, and invites them into full participation in the reign of God. So it begins!
Question of the Day: In these days after Easter, when all Christians are invited to let the love of God have free reign in their hearts, will you spread the Good News through words and deed by reaching out to those on the fringes of God’s family?
Prayer: “The Lord has risen and shone His light upon us, whom He has redeemed by His blood, alleluia.”