Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter
(Acts 8:1b-8; John 6:35-40)
It is surely ironic that the seven so-called deacons, who were ordained to care for the table needs of the Hellenist widows while the apostles attended to preaching the word, show themselves to be quite competent preachers. In Monday’s reading from Acts Stephen’s fiery discourse moved the Jews to martyr him, and in today Philip’s words show an irresistible power. We may wonder what exactly are the table needs of the widows – just more bread or, as Jesus calls himself in the gospel, “the bread of life”?
Rather than make strict classes between the ordained and the non-ordained, the preachers and the listeners in these Scriptures, it seems wise to recognize how all followers are giving testimony to Jesus by their expressed actions. Likewise in the Church today we must take care not to make a hard caste system of the different levels of ordination and the laity. Certainly bishops and even priests are ordained to carry out formational roles in the Church. But the laity has a unique role in the celebration of sacraments and certainly forms the frontline in taking the gospel to the world.