3rd Week of Easter, Thursday, April 22
Acts 8:26-48 / John 6:44-51
Jesus talks about the Father; "Only the Son has seen the Father."
A college student said to his theology professor, "I cannot believe in God any longer." The professor stunned the student by saying, "Maybe I should congratulate you for no longer believing in God." "What do you mean by that?" said the student. His professor replied,"Perhaps the idea of God that you have in your mind is so distorted that you should reject it." The professor's remark underscores an important point. Oftentimes the God whom people reject is not the true God, but merely a subjective caricature of him that exists nowhere but in their mind. If we are to discover the true God, we must turn to Jesus Christ.
What is our idea or image of God? Jesus said, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father." John 14:9
Luke presents the conversion of the treasurer of the queen of Ethiopia very much in parallel with that of the disciples of Emmaus. The latter had listened to Christ’s explanation of the Scriptures about himself, and then recognized and really encountered the living, Risen Lord in the breaking of bread, in the Eucharist. The Ethiopian had the Scriptures explained to him about the lamb that was slain and the good news of the resurrection. Then, he asked to be baptized so that he could encounter the Risen Lord.
In the Gospel, Christ speaks again of himself as the bread of life to be accepted in faith and promises to give the bread of his own flesh in the Eucharist for the life of the world, for eternal life.
We should not have the impression that during persecution the Church was badly organised. The moment they heard in Jerusalem that Samaria had many conversions, they sent Peter and John there. The moment they heard of the Treasurer of Ethiopia being a God-fearing, open man, they sent couriers (they called them messengers of the Lord) to Philip. Be ready to set out at noon. He was ready to go into the unknown. A missionary is always ready when God calls. On the road he heard the chariot coming closer. He went up to the chariot. It stopped. He asked the clumsy question: "Do you understand what you are reading?" The Treasurer needed someone to guide him. To understand Scripture IS a real joy. But till we understand it is a closed book. We need guidance from books or from men who know it. We should have more Bible classes Once he was instructed, the man of action stopped the chariot: "Is there anything to stop me being baptised?", Instruction, an act of faith and baptism, all in the course of part of a journey.
The power of attraction is an amazing thing. It goes beyond
logic and reason. From simple attractions like sales and bargains to the
infatuation and attraction between opposite sexes, the whys and the hows are
difficult to explain. Yet the power of attraction is there and it cannot be
denied and in a certain sense it cannot be easily understood. In the gospel,
Jesus speaks of an awesome and mysterious power of attraction. If we believe in
Jesus, it is because the power of God has drawn us to Him. Indeed, it was the
power of God's love that has drawn our hearts to Jesus and to come to this Mass
to receive Him in Holy Communion. As we heard in the 1st reading, it was also
the power of God's love that drew the eunuch to request for baptism. Jesus
said: No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me. By
the power of God's love, we are drawn into the heart of Jesus.
We are now sent to draw others into the heart of Jesus. We need not explain why we believe in Jesus, or preach to others about Jesus. By our hearts of love, God will draw them to Jesus. May our hearts remain always in the love of God.
Father, you draw all people to you who believe in your Son, Jesus Christ. Faith Lord, faith it is that we need. Give it to us, we pray you, a living faith that we can encounter today Jesus Christ, your Son, in your Word that you speak to us, in the bread that you offer us, and in the food that we can give and can be to one another, in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen