This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11 -- St. Philip the Deacon

Philip the Deacon is not the same as Philip the Apostle. Deacons were appointed by the apostles to take up work of distributing food to the congregation so that apostles could evangelize. According to Paul Burns in his edition of Butler's Lives of the Saints, a rift was developing between the Greek Christians and the Hebrew Christians, so the selection of Philip (and Stephen) as deacons, both Greeks, seems an attempt to mend fences a little.

Philip baptizing the Eunuch Treasurer of Ethiopia
Philip doesn't seem to have been content to set the table. He was evangelizing Samaria with great success at one point, working miracles to keep people from being impressed by that charlatan Simon Magus. In Acts 8:20, he was rebuked for offering Peter money so that he might receive the Spirit. Yeah, well, everybody makes mistakes -- that's how we learn, right?

God doesn't seem to have held it against Philip, because he sent him on the road where a seemingly chance meeting with the treasurer of the Queen of Ethiopia led to an impromptu baptism and the birth of the Ethiopian church. This marked the first conversion aimed outside Israel (the Greeks like Philip were all leftovers from the Hellenistic Empire).

Philip seems an ambitious Christian, but he is not condemned for this. He makes missteps, but is allowed to redeem himself. As we consider those who seek to do the work of God, (and as Americans, we are apt to be cynical about their intentions) we would do well to consider saints like Philip.

No comments:

Post a Comment