Step #1: Lectio / read
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.
Step #2: meditatio / meditate
Have you ever been caught in a situation where you didn't understand something, but you didn't want to admit? Maybe, after pretending you knew something for a while, the person you were talking to asked you a question that made it painfully obvious you didn't know what was happening, and you either had to lie or simply admit the truth that, in fact, you didn't quite understand what was going on.
In today's Gospel, Philip goes up to a man who is a member of a foreign court and asks him if he understands what he's reading, putting him directly on the spot to see if he would answer honestly and admit that he doesn't know everything. Think of the boldness of Philip! This man is traveling along, reading from the Scriptures, and heading back to his country where he is most likely a very important person. Undeterred, Philip listened to the angel of the Lord and went right up to the man to teach him.
The Eunuch, who easily could have responded by telling Philip that he knew what was going on and asking Philip to stop talking to him, is honest by admitting that he does not know exactly what is happening in the Scriptures. Instead, in a way that is very important for all of us to hear, the Eunuch admits that he cannot know what is going on unless he is taught.
Do we, in life and in our faith, have an attitude of wanting to be taught, of being open to growing? Or, do we get it into our heads that we know everything already and we don't need any help? The Church gives us teachers, who we call Bishops and Priests, whose job is to make sure that we continue to grow and to learn more about our faith. In fact, one of the greatest mistakes we could possibly make in our faith is to stop growing.
God is never done with us; if we realize this, and we're okay with being taught more by people who are smarter than us, than we'll continue to grow in holiness and become the people we've been created to be.
Step #3: Oratio / pray
“'Do you understand what you are reading?'
He replied, 'How can I, unless someone instructs me?'”
Am I open to being taught, or do I let myself believe that I know everything already?
What are areas of my life where I need to learn, and what am I doing to let myself learn from others who can teach me?
How can I grow in humility in my life?
Step #4: contemplatio / contemplate
Jesus, send your Spirit to teach me.
Please, Lord, help me be open to learning from others.
Let me learn from You today.
For the rest of your day...
Think about the people in your life who are voices you listen to and learn from. How can you continue to grow that relationship and make sure you are open to learning from them?
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Today's prayer was prepared by Jason Theobald.