After Stephen had been killed because of faith, all of the Christians in Jerusalem were persecuted, and many of them fled for their safety to the country areas of Judea and Samaria. Only the Apostles remained in the city.
Philip went to Samaria and began preaching about the Messiah there. The Lord also used him to cast out unclean spirits and to heal many sick and disabled people. The Samaritans received Philip with great joy.
Living in Samaria was a man named Simon who professed to be a magician with great skill. His feats of magic had impressed the people so much, they praised him and said his power was from God. But as the Samaritans saw what Philip was doing in their city, they became Christians and were baptized.
Even Simon was amazed by the power of God in Philip and he, too, was baptized.
The Apostles who had stayed back in Jerusalem began to hear reports of the successful ministry of Philip, so they sent Peter and John to help him. When they arrived they laid hands on the people of Samaria and prayed that they would receive the Holy Spirit.
When Simon saw this, he offered money to Peter and John and said, “Give me this power too, so that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive the holy Spirit.”
Peter was angered by Simon’s request. “May your money perish with you, because you thought that you could buy the gift of God with money. … Your heart is not upright before God. Repent … and pray to the Lord that, if possible, your intention may be forgiven.”
Simon shivered with fear and said, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.” After that, Peter and John preached to many Samaritan villages as they returned to Jerusalem. As for Philip, an angel of the Lord visited him and said, “Get up and head south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert route.” Philip immediately obeyed and he met up with a court official of the queen of Ethiopia who was reading from the writings of Isaiah.
Philip asked him, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
“How can I,” the man answered, “unless someone instructs me?” Philip explained the passage to him, and the man was baptized.
READ MORE ABOUT IT:
1. Why did many of the Christians go to Samaria?
2. What did Philip ask the court official?
Philip was one of the first Apostles chosen by Jesus. These men were so important to our faith and to the development of the church that the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us the church was “built on the foundation of the Apostles, the witnesses chosen and sent on a mission by Christ himself.”
Jesus sent the Apostles into the world to preach the Gospel just as God the Father sent Jesus. In fact Jesus told them, “he who receives you receives me.”
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his followers to wait for the promise from the Father, which was the Holy Spirit, and told them to “go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.”
Let us also obey that command and share Jesus with people we meet.
St. George, a Christian knight, is said to have been born at the end of the third century in Cappadocia, which is in Turkey. We know more about his life through legends rather than what actually happened.
According to one legend, George was traveling through the province of Lybia. The people of the nearby city of Sylene were afraid of a dragon. The dragon was about to eat the king’s daughter when George saw it and overpowered it. The dragon was brought to the ciyy, and George said he would kill it if the people would become Christians.
Writings about George’s travels throughout medieval England have been found, and he may have actually been a brave knight known for his strength, obedience and faith.
In 1222, England dedicated a day to him. He eventually became the country’s patron saint.
George died around the year 303, and we honor him on April 23.