Link to today’s readings: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/042115.cfm
Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the Holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. You received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it.”
When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But Stephen, 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, and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. 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. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”; and when he said this, he fell asleep.
Now Saul was consenting to his execution.
It is so sad what hate can do. These people hate Stephen – not for something horrible he did, but for the truth he spoke. How often do we try to run and hide from the truth? Saul was a witness and by his inaction he participated in the murder. But the Lord took the bad that he did and turned it to goodness. There is nothing you or I can do that the Lord cannot forgive us. Saul repented, we can too. The Lord established the Sacrament of Reconciliation so we can be like Saul, forgiven, blessed and given a new focus for our life. Come home to the Lord, be forgiven and find out what the Lord has in mind for you.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the forgiveness you have showered on me. I try to keep on the path you have given me Lord. Help me when I fail to remember that I can always come home to you. In Jesus’ holy name, Amen.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit, Alleluia!