Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/18/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Todays account in our first reading is meant to inspire us to realize that we are also witnesses of the Resurrection and we can and should live differently

Our reading (Acts 8:26-40) introduces us to another believer whose encounter with the Risen Lord empowered him to bear witness to the Gospel with amazing results. His name is Phillip. He was so in tune with the Holy Spirit that angels directed on whom to speak to - and the Spirit inspired and filled the message. The story of the Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch reveals the missionary pattern which the Acts of the Apostles sets forth. It is offered not only for inspiration, but for imitation. After all, the Acts continue. Same Lord. Same Spirit. Same Message. Same Mission. 

Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

Phillip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/18/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Phillip, Ethiopian Eunuch, Evangelism, Evangelization, Holy Spirit, mission, Acts, Resurrection, Pope Francis, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Our readings during the Easter season tell of the courageous living faith of the first followers of the Risen Savior. These ordinary folks were transformed because they were witnesses to the Resurrection. Over the past few days we heard of the courageous witness of Stephen, the first deacon and martyr of the Church. He became so configured to the Lord that he  followed the very pattern of His death, forgiving the people who took his life. His living faith enabled him to see reality as it really is - the heavens opened and he saw the Son of man, standing at the right hand of God. (Acts 7:51- 8:1) That is reality!

One of those consenting to his martyrdom was a persecutor of the early Church named Saul. He became a witness of the Resurrection when Jesus spoke to him as he crossed a desert. As a result of his encounter with the Risen Lord he spent his life continuing the redemptive mission of the Lord, known as Paul. Stephens faithful witness transformed lives then - and continues to transform lives. I serve at a parish named after him. Every time I walk into the Church I see a representation of him holding the stones and the Book of the Gospels.

Today, our reading (Acts 8:26-40) introduces us to another believer whose encounter with the Risen Lord empowered him to bear witness to the Gospel with amazing results. His name is Phillip. He was so in tune with the Holy Spirit that angels directed on whom to speak to - and the Spirit inspired and filled the message. The story of the Baptism of the Ethiopian Eunuch reveals the missionary pattern which the Acts of the Apostles sets forth. It is offered not only for inspiration, but for imitation. After all, the Acts continue. Same Lord. Same Spirit. Same Message. Same Mission. 

In his morning homily on Wednesday, Pope Francis reflected on these accounts from the Book of Acts. He warned us all that we must not become a 'slumbering church.' He bluntly affirmed that 'Whoever knows Jesus has the strength and the courage to proclaim him.  And whoever has received baptism has the strength to walk, to go forward, to evangelize.'

He continued, 'when we do this the Church becomes a mother who generates children capable of bring Christ to the world.' At the end of his homily he said 'Let us ask the Lord for the grace to become baptized persons who are brave and sure that the Holy Spirit who is in us, received at baptism, always moves us to proclaim Jesus Christ with our life, our testimony and even with  our words.'

Todays account in our first reading is meant to inspire us to realize that we are also witnesses of the Resurrection and we can and should live differently. In the words of the great western Bishop of Hippo, St Augustine, that "We are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song".  Death was dealt a fatal blow at the wounded but glorified hands of the Warrior of love. Death could not contain the One who poured Himself out in Love.

The light of heaven flooded that dark cave and continues to fill the world with hope. The debt was paid, the last enemy death was defeated, hell was conquered, the captives are liberated, and the logic of love has triumphed! Jesus Christ is Alive and all those who stand at the Altar of the Cross, believing in His promise, shall live forever in Him. We are now called to be witnesses to the Resurrection.

There is a glorified Resurrected Savior at the right hand of the Father, holding the place He has prepared for each of us. His wounds are glorified, beautiful, streaming the light of grace upon an earth being reborn, revealing the depth of His love and offering each of us the Hope that springs eternal. Through taking on our humanity, He did for us what we could never have done for ourselves. He 'who knew no sin' walked in the perfect obedience of Love and bridged the gap between the Father and the sons and daughters who had rejected His invitation to communion. Jesus did so by offering His own Body on the altar of that Cross, the new Adam said yes to God on the second tree of the Cross.

Through His passion, death, and Resurrection, He has welcomed us into the very inner life of the Trinity, beginning now. In Him we make our home in God. He invites us to live differently and shows us the path to a fullness of life now and eternal glory in the new world to come. He has opened eternity to those once bound by the chains of time. He has clothed in glorious freedom those once wrapped in the grave clothes of death. He has given purpose to the sheep who had wandered aimlessly in empty self pursuits.

The whole world, created through Him, is now being re-created in Him. We can see our lives differently as we open ourselves to His Spirit. The Spirit can replace our finite vision, giving us eyes with eternal perspective. Our feet can be shod with the hope of the Good News and carry us, like Phillip, to places we would never have expected. His redemptive mission continues through us. We are called into a world waiting to be born anew. He walks through time in His Body on earth, His church, and through us invites all men and women to follow Him.

As we choose to become witnesses to the Resurrection we find the purpose of eternity revealed in the temporal realities of our every today. The stuff of our mundane daily lives becomes the ingredients of our own sanctification; the materials out of which the new creation is fashioned anew around us, and within us. The materials have not changed; we have, because He lives now in us and we live in Him. There is nothing we now face alone, no tomorrow that is not redeemed and made new in the timeless One, who, out of endless, eternal, unquenchable love, came into time to redeem and transform it.

Time unfolds into eternity in Him who has entered time and transformed it by His life, death and Resurrection. That Glorious Day, understood by the Church as the first day of the new creation, that Day that the early Christians called the Eighth Day; is now upon us. It is also the portal to eternity. He is the firstborn, the first-fruits of a new creation and is making all things new now, within us and around us.He is living His life through us, for others.

The ground from which God formed the first Adam, the ground upon which Jeus the Incarnate Word walked and into which they placed His sacred, lifeless Body, opened wide for the New Adam; it could not contain Him. He Rose victorious from the dead! 'Be not afraid' He cries out causing the stones to burst forth in our own lives. 'Be gone"'He commands as he shines the light that dispels all the darkness! 'Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. (Hebrews 2:14-15)'.

Through sin, death came into the world. By the Sinless One it is vanquished. No longer an enemy, death is meant to be a friend, an ally, to those who live their lives in the One who has been raised from the dead. No longer an end, it becomes a new beginning for all who hide their lives in His wounded side and live their lives forever joined to Him. Nothing can separate us from that Love incarnated in the Crucified, Risen Son of the True and Living God.

We can  choose daily to live in the encounter with the Risen Jesus and hear the Lord call our name. We can begin to live as though we actually believe that He holds the future - our future and the future of this whole world that He still loves- in those wounded, glorified hands. The Resurrection is a lens through which we can view everything, even suffering and loss. When we do, we discover they have beauty and irreplaceable value - redemptive, life transforming value- when we choose to follow the One who has been raised.

The Acts of the Apostles continues through you and me. Same Lord, Same Spirit, Same Message. Same Mission.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading


The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9
1 After this, I saw another angel come down from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 27th, 2014 Image

St. James Intercisus
November 27: James was a favorite of King Yezdigerd I of Persia and a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter