Daily Reflection
April 21st, 1999
Michael Lee, S.J.
Acts 8:1-8
John 6:35-40

How did the apostles feel when they witnessed all of their flock fleeing Jerusalem after an angry mob had stoned to death Stephen?

Almost like captains on a sinking ship, the apostles stayed in a Jerusalem rocked by persecution while “all except the apostles” scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria.  Were the apostles discouraged when their efforts to plant the Good News in Jerusalem had wilted and died overnight?

Or perhaps mindful of their own flight after Jesus of Nazareth’s arrest in the Garden of Gesthemane, did the apostles trust that God’s will can be enacted through authentic human freedom?

For the evangelist Luke, who authored the Acts of the Apostles, the flight of the first Christians served to spread the Good News from Jerusalem.  Rather than an act of cowardice, the early Christians fleeing from Jerusalem fulfill the prophetic words of the Risen Jesus at the Ascension.  Namely, the Risen Jesus tells the apostles (and through them the whole community of believers) that when the power of the Holy Spirit comes on you, then “you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

Philip’s ministry among the Samaritans provides the first example of preaching the Word outside of Jerusalem.  In the name of Jesus, Philip preaches the Good News and works miracles among the Samaritans.  Following Jesus’ example, Philip reaches out to the Samaritans who were an outcast people on the margins of polite society and invites them into full participation in the reign of God.

In these days after Easter when all Christians are invited to let the love of God have free reign in their hearts, will you spread the Good News through word and deed by reaching out to those on the fringes of  God’s family?

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