“See, here is water! What is to prevent my being baptised? ”
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 8:26-40)
In those days: An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go towards the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert road. And he rose and went. And behold, an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a minister of Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of all her treasure, had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless some one guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this: “As a sheep led to the slaughter or a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken up from the earth.” And the eunuch said to Philip, “Please, about whom does the prophet say this, about himself or about some one else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news of Jesus. And as they went along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What is to prevent my being baptised?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptised him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught up Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus, and passing on he preached the gospel to all the towns till he came to Caesarea.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm66:8-9.16-17.20 (R. 1)
R/. Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.
O peoples, bless our God;
let the voice of his praise resound,
of the God who gave life to our souls
and kept our feet from stumbling. R.
Come and hear, all who fear God;
I will tell what he did for my soul.
To him I cried aloud,
with exaltation ready on my tongue. R.
Blest be God, who did not reject my prayer,
nor withhold from me his merciful love. R.
ALLELUIA John 6:51
Alleluia. I am the living bread which came down from heaven, says the Lord; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever. Alleluia.
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven. ”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 6:44-51)
At that time: Jesus said to the crowds, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The Holy Spirit directs the early Christians’ mission in Jerusalem, then in Samaria, and now to an African, a minister of an Ethiopian Queen. He is reading the scriptures on the way home from Jerusalem after his pilgrimage. The Holy Spirit who inspired his reading also inspires Philip to explain the reading to the Ethiopian, who listens, accepts the explanation, and is baptized. In the Gospel, Jesus repeats He is the Bread of Life. This truth can only be accepted by people who come to God, listen to Him, learn and receive this bread of life in faith. We too are invited to seek proper understanding of the Bible; to live by what we have understood.