Monday of the Third Week of Easter
Acts of the Apostles 6:8-17, Psalm 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30, & John 6:22-29
The Stoning of St. Stephen, by Luigi Garzi
In 1954 my classmates and I received First Holy Communion. The boys wore white suits, and the girls wore their beautiful white dresses. The entire teaching staff at Saint Frances de Chantel, located in Brooklyn, N.Y., were nuns of the Dominican Order. They were wonderful. Back in those days, we were taught to be "good followers."
Today's readings from Acts and the Gospel of Saint John remind us that faith isn't about following tiny rules or believing in Jesus because of signs and wonders. They are about believing in God's astonishing gift of sending Jesus to us and then transforming our lives because of Him. We read in Acts, "Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people." Yet, the members of the Sanhedrin continued in their disbelief.
Our readings tell us to embark on an earnest faith journey that entails mystery, confusion, and even risk. We have to confront tough questions rather than conform to an outdated set of rules and be "good followers."
Even with our best intentions, we were a lot like the Synagogue of Freedmen members in today's Acts reading. We focused on areas of spiritual trivia rather than "the great works of God", and that we "believe in the One He sent," as Saint John reminds us.
Today, we thank all the Saint Stephen's over the centuries that have given their all for the sake of Christianity. I am quite certain that we do not truly understand the incredible difficulties they faced. However, we believe in their endeavors to bring Christ to the world. How can you not trust the face of an angel?
Question of the Day: How will you give your all for the sake of your faith?
Prayer: "Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!" (Psalm 119)