“Throughout, Stephen’s face seemed like that of an angel.” –Acts 6:15

Mass Readings: April 16
First: Acts 6:8-15; Resp: Psalm 119:23-24,26-27,29-30; Gospel: John 6:22-29

Listen to the Mass Readings

As the early Church received grace after grace, it received suffering after suffering. The first people to receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost were falsely accused of being drunk (Acts 2:13). They were not stopped by this injustice, and three thousand were baptized that day (Acts 2:41). After Peter and John healed the man born lame, they led thousands more to Christ (Acts 4:4). Then the Church suffered the arrest of Peter and John (Acts 4:3). After they were released, “through the hands of the apostles, many signs and wonders occurred among the people” (Acts 5:12). Next, all the apostles suffered by being arrested, threatened, and beaten (Acts 5:40). “As the number of disciples grew,” there was a serious disagreement between the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians (Acts 6:1ff). The first deacons dealt with that problem. After this series of sufferings, the number of the disciples “enormously increased” (Acts 6:7). The Church’s next suffering was the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7:60).

Luke’s insight into the attitude of the Church towards all these sufferings may be expressed when he commented: “Throughout, Stephen’s face seemed like that of an angel” (Acts 6:15). In other words, “the Church was at peace” (Acts 9:31). The first word the risen Christ said and says is: “Peace” (Mt 28:9; Jn 20:19, 21).

PRAYER: Father, give me the peace “beyond all understanding” (Phil 4:7).
PROMISE: “This is the work of God: have faith in the One Whom He sent.” —Jn 6:29
PRAISE: Sarah was diagnosed with cancer three times and she prayed in surrender to Jesus. Each time the cancer disappeared.

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