Acts 8: 5-8, 14-17

Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralyzed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that city.

Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Receiving a sign

“The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did.” I think they listened eagerly because they saw the signs that he was doing, healing the sick. Jesus had rightly refused to perform signs when his detractors demanded them; there was no use his trying to console the close-minded. But for most of us, our humanity longs for some evidence of God’s grace in our lives.

One day a friend told me she felt called to give $500 to Marge, a mutual friend. When we arrived and rang the bell, with some embarrassment she handed her the money. Marge burst into tears: “The plumber was just here and told me the boiler was shot and would cost $500 to replace, money I didn’t have!” Sometimes the Lord gives a sign, and brings our words about him to life.

—Fr. Rick McGurn, SJ, is a retreat director at Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House in Barrington, IL. 

Prayer

Jesus, at Cana you began to reveal yourself with consoling signs. Open our eyes to see you at work in our midst today, that our faith in you may be strengthened. Amen.

—Fr. Rick McGurn, SJ