Philip went to a Samaritan town and proclaimed the Christ to them. The people united in welcoming the message Philip preached, either because they had heard of the miracles he worked or because they saw them for themselves. There were, for example, unclean spirits that came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, and they went down there, and prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet he had not come down on any of them: they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
The First reading at Mass today, the 6th Sunday of Easter, witnesses to the spread of the Gospel beyond Jerusalem.
Samaria was the centre of what was perceived by Jews as the centre for a breakaway corrupted version of Judaism. Now it is at the forefront of the spread of Christianity, which reveals the fulfilment of God’s promises made through Judaism and now beginning to be proclaimed to the whole world.
Samaria is renewed by the preaching of Jesus by Philip and sustained in her faith by the ministry of Peter and John, through whom she receives the Spirit.
- Why and how do you accept the word of God?
- What difference does the gift of the Spirit make to your life?
Mount Gerizim, Nablus (centre of ancient Samaria), Palestine. (c) 2012, Allen Morris