16.04.2024 — Man of Integrity

Posted under Reflections on April 16th, 2024 by

3rd week in Easter Time, Tuesday – 16th April 2024 – Acts 7,51-8,1; Jn 6,30-35

Man of Integrity

The first reading presents an account of the martyrdom of Stephen. He is the first Christian martyr. As he faces his death, Stephen places himself into the hands of God. As a Spirit-filled individual and a man of faith and wisdom, he knows the cost of giving witness. In his final speech, Stephen reflects on the role of the prophets of old. They were persecuted by unfaithful Jews. He calls those who have arrested him as “uncircumcised in heart and ears.” Although they are physically circumcised, their behaviour is more like the uncircumcised pagans around them. They were resisting the spirit of God, who spoke through Moses and the prophets. As a man of integrity, Stephen is willing to take on the role of the prophet and to give witness to the relationship that God wants to establish with those who believe in the Lord Jesus.  As he dies, Stephen follows the example of his Lord. He surrenders his life into God’s hands. He also prays and forgives for his executioners. He had the vision of God in glory totally accepting Jesus. He challenged the authorities with his debates and preaching.

15.04.2024 — Drawing Line of Differences

Posted under Reflections on April 15th, 2024 by

3rd week in Easter Time, Monday – 15th April 2024 – Acts 6,8-15; Jn 6,22-29

Drawing Line of Differences

In the first reading, Stephen is presented as a model of a believer who accomplishes the works of God. He will be the first person to give his life for Christ. He is the first martyr, the first true witness to the Gospel. Until now, we only heard the apostles, especially Peter and John, working miracles. Now, after the laying on of hands, deacon Stephen is given the same gifts and the same power. Later, we will see deacon Philip doing the same. Stephen believes in Jesus as Saviour, whom God the Father has sent to save world from sin and death. He preaches without fear because he knows that his message is from the Holy Spirit. Stephen’s words and action aroused the displeasure to other Greek-speaking Jews. He takes up the difficult theme of freedom from the old Law of Moses and the end of the old Temple worship. The people, the elders, and the scribes accuse him of “saying things against this holy place and the law.” The parallels between Stephen’s experience and that of the Lord Jesus being accused are strikingly similar. Like Jesus, and because of Jesus, Stephen is “full of grace and power” and he “did great wonders and signs among the people.” He was bold in proclaiming that Jesus was going to destroy the Temple and change the Traditions of Moses. While Stephen’s enemies glared at him with hostility, his own face gleamed “like the face of an angel.” Stephen perceived and expressed in his preaching, the fuller implications of Jesus’ teachings by drawing the difference between Judaism and Christianity.

1 2 3 4 2,517