THE FEAST OF ST STEPHEN…
8 And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, arose and disputed with Stephen.10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth against him.55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;56 and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.”
57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together upon him.58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
17 Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues,18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles.19 When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour;
20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.21 Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death;22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
St LUKE thought it nesserary to memorialize the witness account of believers who did not merely make a small cut in their cloak to mourn the death of a righteous friend, but they stripped their garments, laying it at the feet of the young bloodthirsty Saul, expressing their absolute disdain that he ordered the death of deacon Stephen, because he like the gentiles; former slaves who adopted the Hebrew faith, could not dispute Stephens divinely inspired teachings!
THE GOSPEL READING: Christ found it nessesary to clear up any possible misapprehension that the inspired Word His twelve apostles were to deliver to Jewish and gentile OT believers, will nesseserily be embraced by synogogue officials or their flock. Said more bluntly, the apostles are put on notice that their public witness account, testimonies and preaching shall bring out the worst vile responses from those in and outside the Church who will dispute their teachings!
We certainly find ourselves in a time when speech that is soaked in the unadulterated Gospel truth as taught by Christ and the magisterial office as ennumerated in the Sacred Word, is called into question; challenged and even dismmised by close minded clergy, laity as well as political secularists who take umbrige to divinely inspired objective truths. Like Saint Stephen, we are called to appeal to the Holy Spirit and rocksteadily without fear, proclaim and defend the unsullied message of Christ, to family and friends even if it comes at the cost of them stuffing their ears and stoning us with their words and actions.
LET US PRAY: Psalms 31:3-4,6,8,17,
3 Yea, thou art my rock and my fortress; for thy name’s sake lead me and guide me,4 take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for thou art my refuge.6 Thou hatest those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the LORD.8 and hast not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; thou hast set my feet in a broad place.17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call on thee; let the wicked be put to shame, let them go dumbfounded to Sheol.
Commentary. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.
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