Tue 17th April 2018
3rd Week of Easter

Acts 7:51-8:1
Ps. 31(30):3-4,6,7-8,17,21
Jn. 6:30-35     (Ps Wk III)

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

Today’s liturgy shows us the very important testimony of St Stephen. The first part of his testimony was his very strong words to the people, the elders and the scribes. “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the Holy Spirit.” St Stephen was not afraid to admonish his fellow countrymen in order to show them the hardness of their hearts and to call them to repentance. Unfortunately, his words could change neither their hearts nor minds.

The second part of St Stephen’s testimony was his martyrdom. When his words were not strong enough to bring others to conversion, St Stephen laid down his life as an ultimate witness to the love of God. “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” His testimony of forgiveness was not in vain. Saul who participated in that murder converted and as St Paul followed the way of St Stephen.

Sometimes we experience our words of admonition or encouragement as helpless in the face of people committing evil. When our words are not strong enough to change the hearts of others, we have to offer our life as sacrifice for their salvation. May the Holy Spirit fill us with His power so that we may follow the example of St Stephen.

“Lord, You are my rock and my fortress; for Your name’s sake lead and guide me.”