Back in Acts 8 for our first reading today. We see a very interesting story about an Ethiopian eunuch who has an encounter with Philip. More on that in a moment. Today in the Gospel reading from John 6, Jesus continues with the Bread of Life discourse. He begins to reveal more about the Eucharist. “I am the bread of life…and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” He now begins equating his Flesh with bread, and how we must eat this bread.
In Acts 8 today, we see the Spirit telling Philip to meet up with this Ethiopian eunuch. Philip asks him if he understands the Scriptures that he is reading. The eunuch responds, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And so Philip interprets the Scriptures to him. Interesting, huh? The eunuch needs the Scriptures interpreted for him and so what happens? The Holy Spirit sends Philip, who had recently been ordained one of the first deacons, part of the teaching authority of the Church to him! Coincidence? I think not! This is exactly how God planned it.
As Catholics, we don’t need to worry about interpreting the Scriptures. God gave authority to the Apostles and their successors to do that. We call it the Magisterium of the Church. If there is a question about doctrinal matters from Scripture, they, not we, are the final arbiters. We see an example in today’s first reading. Now, don’t get me wrong…we are still to read and absorb the Scriptures daily. And the Scriptures can speak to us in many different ways, having specific meaning to each of us. So Catholics, READ THE SCRIPTURES! But when it comes to doctrinally interpreting them, never fear. That job has already been given.
Father, we thank you for giving authority to Holy Mother Church to interpret the Scriptures, that we may not fall into error. Give us a greater hunger and appreciation for the Scriptures. Amen.