Tag Archives: Travel

“Go South Young Man, Go South, Says the Winged Wonder!” – Acts 8:26-36†

Today in Catholic History:
† 296 – Death of Pope Caius
† 455 – Petronius Maximus, Roman Emperor
† 536 – Death of Pope Agapetus I
† 1509 – Henry VIII ascends the throne of England after the death of his father.
† 1610 – Birth of Pope Alexander VIII (d. 1691)
† 1864 – Congress authorized the inscription “In God We Trust” on coins minted as U.S. currency.
† 1970 – First Earth Day celebrated.

Today’s reflection is about Phillip evangelizing to an African slave. 

Quote or Joke of the Day:

We cannot do great things — only small things with great love. — Mother Teresa

Today’s Meditation:

Then the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, “Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.”  So he got up and set out. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home.  Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah.  The Spirit said to Philip, “Go and join up with that chariot.”  Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”  He replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” So he invited Philip to get in and sit with him.  This was the scripture passage he was reading: “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opened not his mouth.  In (his) humiliation justice was denied him. Who will tell of his posterity? For his life is taken from the earth.”  Then the eunuch said to Philip in reply, “I beg you, about whom is the prophet saying this? About himself, or about someone else?”  Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him.  As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water. What is to prevent my being baptized?”  (NAB Acts 8:26-36)

Is Phillip responsible for the first Gentile convert to Catholicism? I am not sure, since Peter has a remarkable mass-conversion story as well.  It is just remarkable that conversions are literally happening left and right so shortly after the cruelty of Jesus’ execution.  I wonder how many possible converts did not commit out of fear of similar fates.

The story of this official’s conversion to Christianity is given a strong supernatural cast by the introduction of an angel, and instruction from the Holy Spirit.  Whether sent by an angel or the Holy Spirit, the initiative plan for the mission was God’s: Phillip is only the pawn in God’s plan.  Phillip had a northward movement towards Samaria.  Now he is told to head south, where he will meet his charge.

This gentleman, a slave to the queen of Nubia is quite impressive.  The conversion of this Ethiopian eunuch, gives additional evidence to show the spread of Christianity outside the confines of Judaism itself, and was in accord with the plan of God.  This man, having deep African origins conjures up dark skinned converts well beyond the Jewish civilization’s outer boundaries and most definitely on its way to ends of the earth.

It is not clear whether the Ethiopian was originally a convert to Judaism or, as is more probable, a “God-fearer:” such as one who accepted Jewish monotheism and ethic, and attended the synagogue, but did not consider himself bound by some of the regulations like circumcision and dietary laws.  

Candace” is not a proper name, but the title of a Nubian queen.  Nubia is the region in the south of Egypt, along the Nile and in northern Sudan, and during this time in history, was a separate kingdom.  The name of the Queen, or the slave for that manner, is unknown.

Philip is brought alongside the carriage at the very moment when the Ethiopian is pondering the meaning of Isaiah 53:7-8 (“Like a sheep … taken from the earth.”), a passage that Christianity, from its earliest origins, has applied to Jesus.  He was led to slaughter while remaining quiet and humble; killed in a very humiliating way; and was resurrected and ascended to heaven.  Isaiah was a “way too cool” prophet!

This Ethiopian, after talking to Phillips for such a small amount of time, has a very profound conversion.  He wishes to follow in Christ’s footsteps: on the same journey to salvation.  This encounter has a sacramental outcome.  He wants to begin his eternal life with the living water washing away his old life.

“My God, and my all.  Please allow me to have the obedience and wisdom of Phillip.  Tell me which way to turn in order to claim you love for us all.  Amen.”

Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO


Catholic Saint of the Day:  St. Abdiesus

Also called Hebed Jesus, a deacon in the Christian community of Persia who was caught up in the persecutions conducted by King Shapur II. Records indicate that Abdiesus was accompanied in his martyrdom by Abrosimus, Acepsimus, Azadanes, Azades, Bicor, Mareas, Milles, and a women named Tarbula. Some were Persian courtiers, others priests and bishops. Tarbula was the sister of St. Simeon, and suffered a particularly cruel death by sawing

 (From http://www.catholic.org/saints/ website)

Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #22:

The local fraternity is to be established canonically. It becomes the basic unit of the whole Order and a visible sign of the Church, the community of love. This should be the privileged place for developing a sense of Church and the Franciscan vocation and for enlivening the apostolic life of its members.


“Dreams, or a Nightmare?!” Mt 2:12-14

 It is a blustery and very, very, very (I hope my college English Professor isn’t reading this) cold Saturday.  It is Sooo cold that the polar bears at the St. Louis Zoo want inside!  I hope everyone had a great New Years celebration.  My wife had to work both days (she’s a nurse), so the boys and I ‘bach-ed’ it, surviving on appetizers and Imo’s Pizza. 


Quote or Joke of the Day:


 Who travels for love finds a thousand miles not longer than one. (Japanese Proverb.)


Today’s Meditation:


And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.  When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”  Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.  (NAB Mt 2:12-14)


The magi and Joseph were both warned in dreams.  Angels, the messengers of God, came in the dreams of many throughout the Scriptures.  I wonder if the reception of a message from God, coming in a dream, is because while we sleep our minds are OPEN to receiving God’s word.  I believe we put up a wall to this communication while awake.  We don’t want to let anything get in our way, while we navigate our daily wants and obligations.

Moses, Mary, and Abraham were totally open to God even while awake.  They had no walls to communication; and matter of fact, they all wanted to communicate with God, and to follow “all” of God’s commands without hesitation.  God came to them without any having to navigate any obstructions.  I pray that I can become this open to His word as readily as these great people of the bible.

The other topic of these verses was the flight to Egypt.  Moses could be related to the child Jesus with the similarities in this flight.  Jesus was in danger from a ruler, and needed to leave in order to live.  Jesus had His own Exodus, in a sense.  Moses Exodus was to take people of “Israel” to a promised land, and out of danger; and Jesus’ exodus was to take the “promised” to a different land, and out of danger, and thus saving all people, including the people of Israel.

Egypt was a traditional place of refuge for those fleeing from danger in Palestine (see 1 Kings 11:40; Jeremiah 26:21), but the main reason the child is to be taken to Egypt is that he may relive the Exodus experience of Israel.  I wonder how difficult it was for a newborn infant, and a new, teenage mother to travel to a far away place like Egypt?  This was a foreign land, with different customs and traditions.  Even the foods may have been significantly different.  Hebrew and Greek were spoken throughout the Roman Empire, but was Joseph and Mary’s everyday language and dialect spoken?  How did they support themselves?


Pax et Bonum

Dan Halley, SFO




Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #2:


The Secular Franciscan Order holds a special place in this family circle. It is an organic union of all Catholic fraternities scattered throughout the world and open to every group of the faithful. In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit, strive for perfect charity in their own secular state. By their profession they pledge themselves to live the gospel in the manner of Saint Francis by means of this rule approved by the Church.