I don’t know about you but I absolutely love this passage from the 8th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. I’d have to say it is my second favorite passage from Acts. The story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch presents us with such great characters. On the one hand we have the Eunuch, who was so close to temporal power and yet he may not have been allowed to enter into Judaism because he was a Eunuch. And you have Philip the deacon who is so filled with the Spirit, so obedient to the Father’s will, so ready to preach the Gospel that the Lord sends him on mission and as soon as that mission is complete the Lord snatches him, he teleports him to the next mission. And that is why my brothers and sisters that Archbishop Hughes has not flown since 1981.
gg You know I have been in seminary for 8 years. One of the things I have learned in that time is that life is full of different seasons. Sometimes we are with Joseph and Mary anticipating the Birth of the Messiah. Sometimes we are with Jesus in his public ministry. Sometimes we are on the cross with Christ, and sometimes we feel resurrected with Christ.
We all go through different season in our lives. For various reasons some of us may not be seminarians next year. Whether that is because we are getting ordained or because we don’t hear the Lord calling us to priesthood, we are still seminarians now and for the next few weeks.
In the last few weeks of the semester, familiar phrases start to surface. “I’m so done,” “I’m checked- out,” “Deaconitis,” “Senioritis,” and for you lovers of scripture “Lord let your servant go in peace.” It is easy to cite exhaustion and the fact that it is crunch time as excuses to neglect our responsibilities. But the fact is, God called us to seminary, and whether we will be back or not next year; that calling that mission is not over until May 4th. Until then we have to stay in the present moment with the Lord. What a shame it would have been if Philip had did all that work in Samaria and then decided that his time was not worth catechizing and baptizing the Ethiopian Eunuch. What a shame if he decided to check-out on a mission from the Lord. We must resist that little voice in our heads that tell us we have done enough this semester. We have given enough to this seminary. We have made enough progress in formation for now. In the Gospel, Jesus exclaims over and over again that he is the Bread of life and will give-up his flesh for the sanctification of the world. Can’t we at least give-up these next few weeks to the Lord who gives us His flesh? Can we not sacrifice a few days for the sanctification of ourselves, this seminary, and the world?
And so my brothers and sisters, God sends us on mission and gives us the grace to accomplish that mission. It is our job to trust in God and cooperate with that grace. And you never know, one day you might find that you have the same gift of teleportation as Archbishop Hughes.