The Catholic Defender: “How can I, unless someone instructs me?”
On that first Easter morning, two men were walking to a village (Emmaus) debating the happenings of the past weekend.
Jesus came upon them and walked with them yet they did not recognize him. Jesus let on as if he was not aware of what took place.
Cleopas asked the Lord,“Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days”.
Jesus asked them “what sort of things”?
They responded, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him”.
As they walked on, the two continued to recount to Jesus what had happened to include the report that his body was not there at the tomb. Angels were seen in a vision and the Lord was seen by Mary.
Jesus began to open their eyes about the Messiah when they urged Jesus stay with them and so he did. The two never did recognize Jesus until finally, when Jesus “took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and he vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us” (Luke 24:32)?
Jesus opened their eyes to the truth and brought the truth of the scripture to light.
Acts 8:26 we see “the angel of the Lord” speaking to St. Philip informing him to go towards Gaza from Jerusalem through a desert route.
St. Philip encounters an Ethiopian eunuch who was a high court official of the Queen of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian was reading from Isaiah and could not fully understand what all this meant.
St. Philip, led by the Spirit, ran up and heard him reading Isaiah. Philip asked him if he understood the passage he was reading. He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me”?
The Ethiopian invited St. Philip to ride along with him who explained this scripture: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before it’s 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”.
St. Philip was able to open the eyes of the Ethiopian Eunuch who requested baptism.
As quickly as Jesus had vanished from the two Disciples sight, “The Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more but continued on his way rejoicing”. Meanwhile, Philip was next seen at Azotus and continued to proclaim “the good news to all the towns until he reached Caesarea”.
When I read about St. Philip, and this passage where the Spirit of the Lord took him to Azotus, which was about 88 miles from there. I can’t help but think about some of the extraordinary gifts God used through Padre Pio in our own time.
It’s important that St. Luke, a Gentile,recognize the importance of the Holy Spirit using men to open the eyes of people to follow the Lord. Through the Lord’s Church we have been given the “Deposit of Faith” to teach the nations.
We become His voice when we proclaim God’s word and teach the hidden messages found in the scriptures. We become His feet when we go where he sends us to do His will. We become His hands when we serve those in need.
By virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation, we are called to open the eyes of those searching for the truth. We are obligated to follow after the Lord so that He becomes center stage in our lives. He must increase while I decrease.
The New Testament is filled with examples of conversion that should give us example to do the same. We have great opportunity through the internet and media outlets we have available today.
Even so, there is a lot of confusion out in the real world just as there was on that first Easter morning. As the Lord reached out to Cleopus and his friend on the road to Emmaus, and as St. Philip reached out to the Ethiopian Eunuch in the desert, we need to be willing to do the same.
This past Easter Vigil, there were many received into the Catholic Church through the RCIA from all over the world. Today, there are many Ethiopian Eunuch’s asking the question: “How can I, unless someone instructs me”? I see them everyday in people I meet.