THEY ARE HAPPY WHOSE LIFE IS BLAMELESS
(Monday, May 06, 2019)
Whenever we set out to do the work of God in truth and in spirit, God will endow and equip us with wisdom, strength and insight beyond all measures. The case of St. Stephen in the first reading today is a good example. Two days ago we reflected how he was chosen alongside the others as the first deacons in the history of the Church. Stephen was chosen based on his impeccable qualities. As was recorded in the reading, he was a man filled with Holy Spirit and wisdom and as such dedicated himself to the service of the Church by which he was chosen. Stephen never slacked in rendering services to others, to see that there was equitable sharing of things among the members of the early Church. It was the same work that he was doing that the reading of today recorded.
The opening paragraph of the first reading has it that Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. He was doing this not to attract attention to himself but through his actions, the name of God will be glorified among the people both the believers and non-believers. Instead of glorifying God for the wonderful gifts He endowed St. Stephen with, some men who were enemies of the early Christians came to engage Stephen in a debate. Stephen filled with the spirit of God defeated them all. As a way to attack not only St. Stephen but also the Church, these people went ahead to bring false accusations against him because they could not withstand him. Why this hatred? why this plot? All centered to destroy the nascent Church and her activities. It is quite unfortunate that the same thing is happening today, especially among the Christian communities not even from outside of us.
Many people devote their strengths and energies trying to pull one another down, through character assassination and other means that are harmful to our Christian vocation, Christian charity and faith. How can we grow if we engage ourselves in the war of destroying one another’s gifts and talents? We can only make and achieve progress when we value ourselves and the gifts God used to beautify our Christian communities. It is by appreciating these gifts that we team up to fight those who are enemies to the Church. We cannot collectively fight our common enemies—the devil and his cohorts if the unity and love that bind us together can no longer hold. Whenever we gather around the Eucharist, it reminds us the love and unity that are the center of our Christian vocation. Whenever the love and unity are strengthened, we make more progress.
Therefore, Christ in the gospel of today calls us not to work for food that cannot last but instead to work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man will give us—His Body and Blood which we receive in the Holy Eucharist. Let us like the crowd in the gospel ask “Lord what must we do if we are to do the works that God wants? Jesus gave them and is still giving us the answer that working for God is by believing in the one He sent into the world. By believing in Him, we work together as brothers and sisters like St. Stephen and the early Christians not by fighting, destroying and pulling ourselves down.
Let Us Pray: Lord Jesus, give me grace to do your will and to be ready to die for you and may my witnessing win souls for you. Amen.