Reflection: How does the Church reach out to the non-believers and share the gospel with them? Are there superstitious elements in your faith? Are you able to tell? In what ways do superstitious practices relate to monetary benefit?
Prayer: Ask God for grace so that your faith may be purified, and that you can imitate Philip who promptly followed the guidance of the Holy Spirit to share the gospel with others.
Action: Imitate Philip, accompany those who are interested in learning about Jesus; listen to their questions patiently and explain accordingly.
Acts of the Apostles
Now Saul was consenting to his execution.
Persecution of the Church. On that day, there broke out a severe persecution of the church in Jerusalem, and all were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Devout men buried Stephen and made a loud lament over him. 3 Saul, meanwhile, was trying to destroy the church;* entering house after house and dragging out men and women, he handed them over for imprisonment.
Philip in Samaria.
4 Now those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Thus Philip went down to [the] city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. 6 With one accord, the crowds paid attention to what was said by Philip when they heard it and saw the signs he was doing. 7 For unclean spirits, crying out in a loud voice, came out of many possessed people, and many paralyzed and crippled people were cured.e 8There was great joy in that city.
Simon the Magician.
A man named Simon used to practice magic in the city and astounded the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great. 10 All of them, from the least to the greatest, paid attention to him, saying, “This man is the 'Power of God' that is called 'Great.'” 11 They paid attention to him because he had astounded them by his magic for a long time, 12 but once they began to believe Philip as he preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, men and women alike were baptized. 13 Even Simon himself believed and, after being baptized, became devoted to Philip; and when he saw the signs and mighty deeds that were occurring, he was astounded.
14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, 16for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit.
18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money 19and said, “Give me this power too, so that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive the holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your money perish with you, because you thought that you could buy the gift of God with money. 21 You have no share or lot in this matter, for your heart is not upright before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your intention may be forgiven. 23 For I see that you are filled with bitter gall and are in the bonds of iniquity.” 24 Simon said in reply, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.” 25 So when they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem and preached the good news to many Samaritan villages.
Philip and the Ethiopian.
Then 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.” 27 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, 28 and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot.” 30 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.i 32 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.”
34 Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply, “I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this? About himself, or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him. 36 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?” 37 38 Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 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. 40 Philip came to Azotus, and went about proclaiming the good news to all the towns until he reached Caesarea.
Teaching from Fr. Francis Ching (Traditional and Simplified Chinese subtitles are available):
Who was Philip? (For answer, read either Chinese bible footnote 1 for Acts 8 or ICSB 8:5 footnote.) What does his successful ministry in Samaria display about the gospel? (For answer, read either Chinese bible footnotes 2 for Acts 8 or John 4:35-38.)
Philip Preaches in Samaria
- Laying on of hands (Confirmation) represents the receiving of the Holy Spirit and is different from Baptism. The Church separates Baptism and Confirmation into two Sacraments according to the traditions of the Apostles. Confirmation should be ministered by the Bishop.
- Philip quotes Is 52:13 to convert an Ethiopian eunuch. Pius X used the same passage to convert the Jewish leaders.
- “How can I, unless someone guides me?” –> does not rely on Scripture only
Acts of the Apostles
Now Saul was consenting to his execution. / Philip in Samaria. / Simon the Magician. / Philip and the Ethiopian.
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