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(Part 70)


May 8, 2014
Today’s reading: Acts 8:26-40

The incident of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch instructs us about the nature of the work of LCSC.

The Ethiopian eunuch did not know Jesus, but was mindful of God. He “had come to Jerusalem to worship” (v.27b). The situation of many Catholics today is that they are nominal, lapsed, non-practicing. They are not pagans, for they know God, and might even go to Church to worship. But they have not really met Jesus and have no personal relationship with him.

The Ethiopian eunuch was into the scriptures, and “was reading the prophet Isaiah.” (v.28b). But he did not understand what he was reading. Philip asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (v.30b). He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” (v.31a). Most Catholics do not know the Bible and do not even read the Bible. They are worse off than the eunuch, who at least was reading scripture. St Jerome says that ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ. Thus it is crucial that Catholics read the Bible and apply what they learn to their lives. This is one reason why the LCS is replete with Bible passages. Often, most Catholics would only truly encounter the scriptures through the LCS.

“Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him.” (v.35). Philip evangelized the eunuch. He introduced Jesus to him. Philip shared Christ, and thus the eunuch met Christ. This is what happens in the LCS. Then, upon the desire of the eunuch, Philip “baptized him.” (v.38). The eunuch put his faith in Jesus and became a Christian. He would now start to live Christ.

Now notice that this whole episode happened within less than a day. We have different ways of mounting the LCSC LCS, but one day or one weekend is an option. In one day, one can indeed meet Christ and start to live Christ based on the proclamation of the gospel and intensive inputs about the faith, about the full gospel, based especially on the scriptures.

“When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, but continued on his way rejoicing.” (v.39). We can presume that the eunuch, with joy in his new-found faith, connected with a local church. After the LCS, the LCS graduates “see us no more,” that is, we do not bring them into a continuing life in CFC-FFL, but rather leave them to live Christ in the parish environment. Like Philip in relation to the eunuch, we do not give extensive formation or personal pastoral support to LCS graduates, which they should find in their parishes.

Philip then “went about proclaiming the good news to all the towns” (v.40). This is the basic task of LCSC, to do the initial first step in evangelization, which is to proclaim the gospel. This actually is what is missing in the Church, which has so many activities and ministries and programs, but is unable to do enough to reach the lapsed Catholics, who are a majority in the Church. LCSC does a massive work of trying to reach those lapsed Catholics and bring them back to God and back to the Church. Like Philip with the eunuch, we do not stay to work on the long (lifelong) process of transformation in Christ, but we focus on massive evangelization, in particular on the initial proclamation of the gospel. Like the work of Philip, LCSC too intends to proclaim the good news of Jesus to all the towns.

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