Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday of the Third Week of Easter

(Acts 6: 8-15; John 6: 22-29)

Angels commune with God. At least this is the common understanding of "messengers of the Lord" as angels are defined. So communing, they can be likened to children watching "Lion King." Mesmerized by the story of coming of age, children show sincerity, earnestness, and innocence. Their countenances resemble the "face of an angel" that Stephen exhibits in the first reading today.

Stephen is one of the newly ordained servants of the primitive Christian community. His varied talents enable him to preach and defend belief in Jesus as well as to care for the Greek widows. What impresses the Jewish leaders investigating charges of his supposed blasphemy is his composure. He seems to speak with both urgency and peace. As the reading says, they see the "face of an angel."

We might emulate Stephen's attitude in mission. His ordination is traditionally associated with becoming a deacon but, curiously, nothing in the passage speaks specifically of diaconate. It is not too far-fetched to understand the action as a confirmation of the Spirit's presence which we receive at Baptism. In any case we should strive to proclaim God's love for the world with similar urgency and peace.