Daily Reflection
April 20th, 1999
Tom Schloemer, S.J.
Campus Ministry
Acts 7:51--8:1
John 6:30-35

The trial of Stephen began in yesterday's first reading.  Today we see Stephen willing to die for belief in the person of Jesus.  Our Gospel reading from John presents the basis for such courage.

Jesus had claimed that the true work of God is to believe in him.  The Jews now want Jesus to prove that claim.

The feeding of the crowd hearkened back to the manna in the wilderness.  There was strong belief that the Messiah would again give the manna, the bread of God.  Jesus points out that it was God, not Moses, who gave the manna which was only a symbol of the bread of God.  The true bread of God would not simply satisfy hunger but give life.  Jesus is that bread sent by God.

Stephen thoroughly believed that Jesus is the bread of life.  One does not give up one's life for theological speculation.  The life that Jesus offered Stephen was a new relationship of trust and obedience and love.

Stephen's story is inspiring.  We will probably not be called to such witness.  Like Stephen, however, our acceptance of Jesus as the bread of life can sustain us in the small, daily martyrdoms of life and can fulfill every longing of our hearts for God.

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