Monday of the Third Week of Easter
Today we encounter Stephen and his bold presentation. Totally taken up with the way of the Lord and filled with grace, Stephen could not contain himself. He preached and worked wonders in the name of Jesus. His hearers only heard what seemed to be the condemnation of their old way. He spoke against their traditions. Therefore, he was condemned, accused, and brought to trial.
The crowds that followed Jesus were struck by the signs they saw him work. He fed the hungry crowds. The crowds sought desperately to follow him, to find him. Jesus himself chided them that they were really impressed because they had been fed. Rather what they should notice above all was the power of God at work. They had been hungry, and then they were fed. Jesus desired that their attention be directed to God, the one who had sent him.
Stephen had been called and set apart for service. Filled with the spirit he followed the inspiration of the Spirit. Jesus satisfied the crowd. But above all, he wanted to lead them to faith in the ever-faithful God who sent him.
The human response often misses the mark. How often is the messenger condemned because the message is uncomfortable? Or not what is expected? Or not what people wanted to hear, even if it is for the good of the community of faith?
If we have risen with Christ, let us seek to direct our minds and hearts to the ways of Christ, to those things that are above, for we belong to the Lord. Jesus dwells with us in power, and with love, transforming us and nourishing us.
Reflection by Fr. Peter Ullrich, OSB