ACTS OF THE APOSTLES
Saul was there, approving his murder.
This was the beginning of a great persecution against the Church in Jerusalem.
All , except the apostles, were scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria.
Devout men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.
Saul meanwhile was trying to destroy the Church;
he entered house after house and dragged off men and women and had them put in jail.
At the same time those who were scattered went about preaching the word.
Philip went down to a town of Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.
All the people paid close attention to what Philip said as they listened to him and saw the miraculous signs that he did.
For in the cases of possession, the unclean spirits came out shrieking loudly.
Many people who were paralysed or crippled were healed.
So there was great joy in that town.
A certain man named Simon had come to this town, practicing magic.
He held the Samaritans spellbound and passed himself off as a very important person.
All the people, from the last to the greatest, put their trust in him, saying,
“This is the Power of God, the Great One.”
And they followed him because he had held them under the spell of his magic for a long time.
But when they came to believe Philip who announced to them the Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ as Saviour, both men and women were baptised.
Simon himself believed and was baptised, and would not depart from Philip.
He was astonished when he saw the miraculous signs and wonders that happened.
Now, when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the Samaritans had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
They went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
for he had not as yet come down upon any of them since they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.
So Peter and John laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money saying,
“Give me also this power, so that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
“May you and your money perish for thinking the Gift of God could be brought with money!
You cannot share in this since you do not understand the things of God.
Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord
that you may be forgiven such a wrong way of thinking.
I see you are poisoned with bitterness and in the grip of sin.”
“Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that none of these things you spoke of will happen to me.”
Peter and John
gave their testimony and spoke the word of the Lord.
And they went back to Jerusalem, bringing the Good News to many Samaritan villages along the way.
An angel of the Lord said to Philip,
“Go south towards the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, the desert road.”
So he set out and it happened that an Ethiopian was passing along the way.
He was an official in charge of the treasury of the queen of the Ethiopians; he had come on pilgrimage to Jerusalem and was on his way home.
He was sitting in his carriage and reading the prophet Isaiah.
The Spirit said to Philip,
“Go and catch up with that carriage.”
So Philip ran up and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah; and he asked,
“Do you really understand what you are reading?”
The Ethiopian replied,
“How can I, unless someone explains it to me?”
He then invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.
This was the passage of Scripture he was reading:
He was led like a sheep to be slaughtered;
like a lamb that is dumb before the shearer,
he did not open his mouth.
He was humbled and deprived of his right.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For he was uprooted from the earth.
The official asked Philip,
“Tell me, please, does the prophet speak of himself or of someone else?”
Then Philip began to tell him the Good News of Jesus, using this text of Scripture as his starting point.
As they traveled down the road they came to a place where there was some water.
Then the Ethiopian official said,
“Look, here is water; what is to keep me from being baptised?”
Then he ordered the carriage to stop; both Philip and the Ethiopian went down into the water and Philip baptised him.
When they came out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away.
The Ethiopian saw him no more, but he continued on his way full of joy.
Philip found himself at Azotus, and he went about announcing the Good News in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.