Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
(Acts 8:26-40; John 6:44-51)
A university professor tells of the importance of a good teacher. She writes that a friend had the most difficult time understanding St. Augustine’s Confessions when he first read it in college. He knew it was an important book but could not appreciate its quality. Rather than give up, he sought the help of a professor who guided his study so that it became profitable. In the reading from Acts today Philip serves as such a guide.
The Ethiopian magistrate is reading one of the “Suffering Servant” passages in the prophet Isaiah. Like everyone else, the Ethiopian asks to whom the passage refers. For Christians such as Philip the question is easy to answer. Jesus passion and death perfectly parallels the trajectory of Isaiah’s “Suffering Servant.” Philip proceeds to tell the man more about Jesus and eventually baptizes him.
The Church needs catechists such as Philip to assist lay people today in the study of Scripture. The project can be tremendously fruitful, but guides are indispensable if it is to get off the ground. With such help we will see Jesus in the Old Testament as well as the New. He will reveal himself as the one who came down from heaven to tell us about God.