Acts 7:51 – 8:1 / John 6:30-35
Yesterday we saw good and bad situations. Some people at time experience bad situation not naturally but in the hands of evil people. We have been seeing people being killed especially by terrorist who think they are heroes and they send their videos in Facebook and other social media.
It is horrible and terrible to think of those innocent people who die like that.
But what gave the martyrs the courage to accept that torture? They could have just renounced their faith and denied Jesus and saved themselves from torture and death.
In the first reading, Stephen already knew he was in mortal danger and he could have just admitted to the accusations and saved his life.
Instead, he went on to say things that infuriated his accusers. Then filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God’s right hand. And he even told his accusers what he say.
That was the final straw for his accusers and they became his executioners.
But as he was being stoned to death, Stephen did not scream in pain or agony. Rather he said in invocation: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he even implored the Lord not to hold this sin against his enemies.
Stephen died a violent death. But he died in peace. For him the turmoil and tribulations of this life cannot be compared to the eternal glory that was awaiting him in heaven.
To believe that requires faith. That faith has its foundations in believing that Jesus is the Bread of Life. When we truly believe that, we will be able to face the turmoil and tribulations of life.
Stephen had clearly understood the message of Jesus. Jesus also forgave those who crucified him while hanging on the cross. We too are called to forgive and gaze our eyes into heaven saying, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Lord, Jesus Christ, receive my spirit. Holy Mary, pray for me. Mary, Mother of Grace, Mother of Mercy, shield me from the enemy and receive me at the hour of my death.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph I give you my heart and soul. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary and Joseph may I sleep and rest in peace with you. breath my last with you.
St. Theresa of Lisiuex, pray for us.