Daily Reflection
April 19th, 1999
Deb Fortina
Academic Affairs
Acts 6:8-15
Psalm 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30
John 6:22-29

Acts 6:8-15 The Earliest Missions-Stephen’s Arrest   “Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people.”
Psalm 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30  In Praise of the Divine   “Though princes sit plotting against me, your servant keeps pondering your will...”

John 6:22-29 The Discourse in the Synagogue at Capernaum  “…’Do not work for food that goes bad, but work for food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of man will give you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’…”
In the early days of the Church’s formation, the Spirit of God was strongly present in the work of the body.  We are introduced to Stephen in today’s reading in the 6th chapter of Acts as he is joining the ranks of the Church to help with the work of spreading Christ’s message.  Stephen is chosen because he is a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit.  It is the Spirit that sustains Stephen when his words are met with resistance, and he is eventually imprisoned with false charges.  His adversaries “found they could not stand up against him because of his wisdom, and the Spirit that prompted what he said.” (Acts 6:10)   Accelerating in time to the present year, we are in the midst of the season that celebrates the Gift of the Holy Spirit.  Many are receiving the sacrament of Confirmation and the Pentecost Sunday is on the horizon.  This reading reminds us of the power behind the Spirit and this gift is available in the same strength as the first Christians first experienced it almost 2000 years ago.

Further reaction to the Spirit’s influence on Stephen is also found when he is brought in for questioning by those who could not tolerate his message “…the members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:15)   Despite the adversity he faced from his teachings in that community, Stephen remained faithful to the message of Christ.  He remained humble in spirit, and forgave his accusers, even up to the point of his death by stoning.

The lament of the voice in Psalm 119:23 could have been called out by Stephen.  We read “Though princes sit plotting against me, your servant keeps pondering your will.”  It is not an everyday conversation to hear someone admit to listening to God’s Spirit in his or her life.  We can be encouraged and renewed by our lesson today.  First seek out the Spirit, and you will be stronger, you will be better able to face life’s challenges.  God’s Spirit is for real.  For in John’s gospel we read about Jesus telling those who are questioning how Jesus arrived at the place they found him, without getting into the boat.  They had witnessed the miracle of the multiplication of the fish and the loaves.  The people wanted one more sign, and so do we always think one more sign will convince us to believe.  To the question the crowd posed to Jesus about what they should do to do his work, he said “This is carrying our God’s work: you must believe in the one he has sent.”(John 6:29)  Maybe for us, we could do the more important work, if we could each day become stronger believers in Christ and in His Spirit.

Daily Readings Texts On Line
University Ministry Home Page
 Collaborative Ministry Home Page
Online Retreat Page