Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

(Acts 8:26-40; John 6:44-51)

Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright!
Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night
As a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear.

After seeing Juliet, Romeo describes her with these words. We should depict the Body of Christ with images as arresting.

A “jewel in an Ethiop’s ear” brings to mind stunning contrast because of the rich, black color of Ethiopians’ skin. When Philip baptizes the Ethiopian in the reading from Acts, he thus introduces Blacks into the Church. The community of Christ has already expanded beyond national boundaries to assimilate non-Jews as well as Jews. Now it has no trouble including Blacks as well as Whites.

But inclusion of the Ethiopian leaps beyond still another border. He is a eunuch, a man who was castrated to fulfill a courtly purpose. The Pentateuch forbids such men from entry into the people of Israel although the same Isaiah that the Ethiopian is reading predicts their future acceptance. Here the prophecy is fulfilled in the name of Jesus Christ.