Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter
Malvern Minute

 

Tuesday of the Third Week of Easter

April 28, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

 

Memorial Feast:  Saint Peter Chanel, Priest and Martyr (1803-1841) – Patron Saint of Oceania

Acts of the Apostles 7:51-8:1a

Psalm 31

John 6:30-35

 

Today the Act of the Apostles continues the story of Saint Stephen.  He was one of seven men “of good reputation, filled with the Holy Spirit as well as wise” chosen by the Apostles as the first deacons of the Catholic Church.

Stephen chose to teach in the synagogues because he felt that it was the place that the voice of Jesus needed to be heard.  The synagogue officials were unable to refute or even debate his words because of his wisdom.  He was an effective communicator of the Good News of Jesus.

As you are also aware a conspiracy was contrived and he was accused and condemned as a blasphemer of the Mosaic Laws and according to the law was taken to be stoned to death.  As our Lord Jesus accepted His fate from Pilate, Saint Stephen accepted his fate as well.  At his condemnation witnesses reported that “his face was like the face of an angel.”

As he was being stoned our good Stephen called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”  Stephen became the first martyr of our faith.  A martyrdom that he bore with great courage and, with his final words, forgave those who stoned him to death.

After hearing the account of his death we may be tempted to feel that Stephen’s death was a tragic one.  Personally, I don’t see it that way.  The tragedy of that day wasn’t the death of Stephen but for the crowd that stoned him.  Stephen was not the victim that day; in fact he is not a victim at all.  In death he is the victor, and though they lived on, those who stoned him became the losers.

Friends, the story does not end here.  In the next few days we will hear much more about the man called “Saul,” a known persecutor of Christians and one of the men who “consented” to the execution of Stephen.  Saul’s life will change dramatically as will his eventual role in salvation history.  As for Saint Stephen, he may have had the face of an angel, but I am content to have him as one of our most heroic saints.

Question of the Day:  How will you forgive others for transgressions both large and small as well ask for forgiveness to those you have offended? 

Prayer:  Lord, we celebrate the entrance of Saint Stephen into eternal glory.  He died praying for those who killed him.  Help us to imitate his goodness, and to love our enemies.  We ask this through Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

Please continue to pray for the victims of the Coronavirus and for all who are affected by this unprecedented pandemic.

Prosit

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