Philip’s journey is mysterious. God seems to have been awakened and instructed by God and was told to attend to the Ethiopian. This is the way the Holy Spirit can also work in our lives through the ordinary day-to-day events. We should never discount the fact that God might speak to us in an unexpected way. My friend woke up in the middle of the night and was inspired to pray for the success of the building of a shopping center. His obedience eventually led the owner of the shopping center to convert to Christianity. Acts 8:26-40
The Gospel of Jesus surpasses all other revelations that have preceded it. We have the definitive self-revelation of God in the person of Jesus, His life and His mission. Jesus clearly tells us that His ministry surpasses that of the Old Testament — your fathers ate manna in the desert and they died. “I am the bread come down from heaven and whoever eats this bread will never die.” These are words that we need to cling to like we have never held on to anything else.
Jesus understands the centrality of the Exodus event in the lives of the Jews. He has been a Jew for 30 years. He knows what it means to them and yet He tells them that it is nothing compared to what He is offering us in the Gospel. We need to situate the message of the Gospel within its Jewish context in order to understand how radical it is.
What does this mean for us today? One of the challenges we face is to rediscover the radical nature of the Gospel. If the Old Testament is certain death, then the direction of the secular world in which we live today is ultra-certain death. We live in a time when the comparison is even more stark and confronting, which can be both a help and a hindrance when proclaiming it. However, what is most important is that we retain everything that is essential to the message of the Gospel.
Let us never water down the truth of the Gospel proclamation so that its power to save is not compromised. Many will reject it, but that is neither our fault nor our problem. It is the role of the Holy Spirit to bring conversion. It is our role to faithfully live and proclaim the Gospel truths. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
REFLECTION QUESTION: How well do you understand that the Gospel is a natural progression from the revelation of God that we find in the Old Testament?