Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” –Acts 8:30
Jesus said to the crowds: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. -John 6:44-45
The readings from today have a great deal to teach us about belonging. Who’s in and who’s out. In the first reading Philip is impelled by the spirit to travel down the road. Little did he know he was being sent on a mission. Have you ever just gotten the urge to get up and go somewhere? And then once you got there found something tremendous and wonderful? Once, when my wife and I were visiting in Italy we pulled over for lunch. We were on our way to somewhere else and wanted to quickly get back on the road, but, while we were eating, we looked up on the hill next to us. There seem to be a monastery or church of some kind. We decided to investigate before traveling further. It turned out to be a Passionist monastery! We tried the front doors, but they were locked tight. As we turned to leave and continue our journey we heard a voice from high above us, “Che cosa sta cercando?” (What are you looking for?) We told him in the best Italian we could muster that we were tourists, just looking to see if the church was open. “Un momento!” he called. This led to a most joyful evening of being given a private tour of the church, gently lit by glass chandeliers and star light. What a delightful treat we would’ve missed if we had not listened to the inner prompting to set aside our plans and go where we were led.
And the gospel Jesus tells us that no one can come to him unless the father draws them. It’s interesting that if you go back to the Greek this includes not only people but everything. In addition, the word, “draw,” can also be translated as being led or impelled. So another translation could be “everything is impelled by God to be joined with Jesus.” Some days it seems the best I can do is get out of my own way and let God direct me. Actually, if truth be told, that would be best every day.
In addition to being an independent teacher (now online!), Talib Huff is on the retreat team at Christ the King Retreat Center In Citrus Heights. You can contact him at [email protected].