Saturday, 11 April 2015



I like to think of Philip the deacon as being the patron of hitchhikers! I used to do quite a bit of that as a Dominican student. Very often I would get into discussions about the faith, with the lorry and car drivers who gave me a lift. That’s what happened when Philip hitched a lift from the Ethiopian officer. He was reading what seems to have been the Suffering Servant poems of the prophet Isaiah. Since the Ethiopian couldn’t understand them he asked Philip to explain them. He showed that the
Scriptures foretold the saving death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In doing so Philip repeated what the risen Lord had done as He explained to the disciples on the road to Emmaus that the Scriptures prophesied His death and resurrection. In writing the 2nd volume of his Gospel, the Acts of the Apostles,
St. Luke wanted us to realise that the risen Lord did not abandon us when He ascended into heaven. Now He accompanies us on our journey through life, and this is suggested by His accompanying the disciples on the road to Emmaus. On that journey we meet Jesus in the Scriptures, which are not just a written text, but the Word of God Himself speaking to our minds and hearts. 
As they reflected on their conversation on the road to Emmaus the disciples exclaimed, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" The Ethiopian had a parallel experience as Philip explained the Scriptures to him. Jesus continues to speak to us through the Scriptures, the teaching of the Church and in our prayers.
There’s another important parallel between the risen Lord walking with the disciples and Philip -representing the Church -when he hitched a lift. Both episodes conclude with a reference to a sacrament. The road to Emmaus concluded with Jesus sharing a meal with the two disciples. They immediately recognised Him in the Breaking of the Bread. That was the way the early Church referred to the Eucharist. So, here Luke is reassuring us that our crucified and risen Lord is now present among us in the Mass. This incident is paralleled by the Ethiopian asking to be baptised.  
So, in different ways the risen Lord is still with us, even though we can’t see or touch Him. But we do need the sensitivity of faith to realise that He’s with us as we journey through life. Otherwise we could miss Him!
Isidore Clarke O.P.



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