Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Today we are invited to reflect upon the life of St. Stephen, traditionally considered to be the first martyr of the Church. His life and death stands as witness to the lengths to which we should be prepared to go in our faith. Stephen?s death is a stylized account designed to draw parallels with the death of Jesus and thus highlight how we are called to imitate Jesus in all things. This does not detract from the witness of Stephen?s life at all; if anything, it serves to emphasize our need to conform our lives more and more each day to the example of Jesus? life.
8 Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Certain members of the so ? called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, 10 but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke. 7: 54 When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to 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 in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. 58 They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ?Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.?
P S A L M
Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17
R: Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
2  Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety. 3  You are my rock and my fortress; for your name?s sake you will lead and guide me. (R) 5  Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God. 7  I will rejoice and be glad of your mercy. (R) 15  Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors. 16  Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your kindness. (R)
G O S P E L
Discipleship will always mean being ready to make sacrifices. At the very least, we need to be willing to sacrifice our own desires and place them second to the will of God. Some Christians have been called to make the sacrifice of their life in the form of actual martyrdom. This is an incredibly strong witness to the power of the Gospel to change our lives. However, most of us are called to the daily martyrdom of surrendering our lives to the will of God in all of the various things that make up our day. Let us pray for the grace to live for Jesus in all that we do and say.
17 Beware of people, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. 19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. 20 For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.
think: Discipleship will always mean being ready to make sacrifices.
God?s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ? S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR 2John/3John/Jude