Do you believe in coincidences? I can’t say that I do, at least not in the spiritual sense. Sometimes, I think, being in the right place at the right time is divinely ordained. Far more often than we realize, I think it’s the work of the Holy Spirit. Certainly that has to be the case in today’s first reading. How else would we explain an angel directing Philip to be on a road at the very same time as the Ethiopian eunuch passed by, reading a passage from the prophet Isaiah that referred to Jesus? Seizing the moment, Philip explains the Jesus event to him in a way that was powerful enough and moving enough that, on seeing some water as they continued on the journey, the eunuch begged to be baptized. Then, as the Spirit whisks Philip off to Azotus, the eunuch continues on his way, rejoicing in his new life.
The same is true for those who were fortunate enough to hear Jesus proclaim the Bread of Life discourse that we’ve been reading in our Gospel readings these past days. Having been fed by a few loaves and fishes when they were physically hungry, they now come to find Jesus who longs to fill them up not just physically but also, and more importantly, spiritually. Their hunger put them in the right place at the right time.
Maybe what’s important for us to get today is that we are always in the right place at the right time, spiritually speaking. Wherever we find ourselves is the place that we are directed by the Holy Spirit to find God. Wherever we find ourselves is the place that we are directed by the Holy Spirit to proclaim God. And so we may be called upon to find God in the midst of peace, or chaos, or any situation. We never know how God may feed us in those situations. And we may indeed be called upon to proclaim God in those same peaceful, or chaotic, situations. Because we never know when there will be someone like an Ethiopian eunuch there, aching to be filled with Christ’s presence and called to a new life.
It is no coincidence that we are where we are, when we are. The Spirit always calls on us to find our God and proclaim him as Lord of every moment and every situation.