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Thursday, April 30, 1998

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Pope St. Pius V

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 66
John 6:44-51

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evangelization for dummies

"An angel of the Lord then addressed himself to Philip: 'Head south toward the road which goes from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.' Philip began the journey." —Acts 8:26

There is currently a best-selling series of computer training books which all have titles ending with "For Dummies." These books contain simple step-by-step directions. They have great popular appeal, because many people feel computers are overwhelming and that they are not smart enough to understand them. Simple, specific directions are exactly what overwhelmed people are looking for. Likewise, the Holy Spirit used this same approach with Philip the deacon in today's first reading.

The Holy Spirit directed Philip step-by-step in evangelizing, giving him specific, achievable directions. Anyone can head south down a specific road and catch up with a carriage (Acts 8:26, 30). When Philip reached the carriage, all he had to do was follow the eunuch's lead and answer his questions. The eunuch made it easy on Philip by orchestrating his own baptism. All Philip had to do was hear simple directions and obey them. Because he did, the gospel was carried to the continent of Africa.

The task of evangelizing a neighborhood, town, or nation can seem overwhelming. If we focus on our own abilities, it is overwhelming. However, the Holy Spirit has everything planned out. All we need to do is listen to the Spirit and be ready to follow His directions.

Prayer:  Holy Spirit, may I focus on You and not on myself.

Promise:  "I Myself am the Living Bread come down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he shall live forever; the bread I will give is My flesh, for the life of the world." —Jn 6:51

Praise:  Pope Pius V lived an exemplary life: as a simple friar at the beginning, and later as a humble pope.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997