Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
April 22, 2021
Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 66:8-9, 16-17, 20; John 6:44-51
We have all had the experience of feeling an internal prompting to do something. Maybe it’s something that will take years to complete such as studying for a profession or discerning and preparing for a vocation.
Or maybe it’s something that comes as a flash of inspiration that needs to be done now, such as going somewhere or speaking to someone about something that God has put on our heart. Maybe it’s saying “yes” to an unexpected request for our time to help with something, even if it’s inconvenient or it’s the farthest thing from our plans for the day.
When we listen to this inner prompting of the Holy Spirit and act on it, we often understand later why it was important to do at that time. Or, we may never know the result of our obedient actions. We may simply take comfort in the fact that we listened to his prompting and trusted that God needed us to act. Consider Philip the deacon in today’s first reading.
Through an angel, the Holy Spirit directed Philip to take a walk down a certain road that led from Jerusalem to Gaza. I can imagine that Philip might have received these directions during his morning prayer time. Perhaps the call came during morning Mass, following his reception of the Blessed Sacrament.
Regardless of how the inspiration to go down this certain road came about, I like to imagine that prior to receiving this word from the angel, Philip had no plans to walk down this road that day. We can be quite certain that his inspiration to do so came about because he offered himself to the Lord in prayer and promised to do whatever God needed him to do that day. Philip was clearly listening to the Lord and was obedient to him by being open to doing that which quite likely disrupted his daily plans.
At times like these we don’t have to have everything worked out as to how we are going to accomplish that which we’ve been inspired to do. We just have to be willing to show up and let God take it from there. Often this simply involves listening to the one to whom we’ve been sent.
When Philip met up with the eunuch he didn’t immediately begin to preach Jesus. No, he listened to him before he shared the Good News. When Philip reached the carriage, all he had to do was follow the eunuch’s lead and answer his questions about what he was reading from the prophet Isaiah.
The eunuch also made it easy on Philip by orchestrating his own Baptism. All Philip had to do was hear simple directions and obey them. Because he did, the Gospel message was carried by the eunuch to the continent of Africa.
The task of evangelizing or assisting someone in need can seem overwhelming. If we focus on our own abilities, it is overwhelming. But if we trust that God is working in and through us, all we have to do is offer ourselves to him and act when we are inspired or when circumstances make it clear that our help is needed. Our job is to offer our day to God and to then be willing to do whatever he needs us to do.
God makes doing things that are outside our comfort zone relatively easy, things that may seem daunting to us if we were to depend solely on our own resources to accomplish them. But under the direction of the Holy Spirit we can accomplish anything. God gives us the power to do what he needs us to do at any given moment. He goes with us into every situation to give us courage, strength and a heart filled with love to assist a brother or sister in need.
May we be receptive today to God’s call and be willing to do whatever he needs us to do for him.
God bless you.