“THEY COULD NOT WITHSTAND THE WISDOM AND SPIRIT WITH WHICH HE SPOKE.” ACTS 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyrenians, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.
When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, 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 he 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.”
St. Stephen, our protomartyr, or first martyr who has the first feast day after Christmas is preaching with wisdom. Many Jews are trying to trip him up but they can’t. So, like Jesus they make up false accusations and false witnesses and get him a date with the Sanhedrin. The number of Christians was growing so rapidly the Apostles had to lay their hands on deacons to help them do their work. St. Stephen was one of these men.
In the Gospel today, Jesus says,
“Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” MT 10:17-22
Why is the early Church growing so rapidly? Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth! The Holy Spirit is guiding the people of the Church just like the Holy Spirit is guiding us today. The key: You must ask the Holy Spirit to come. This could possibly be one of the most powerful prayers for any time or circumstance in your life.
People are repenting and being baptized. They are receiving the Holy Spirit and God’s grace to fight their fallen human nature and the Devil’s evil schemes. They are breaking the bread and reading the Scriptures in their homes. Last, the Apostles are laying hands on those worthy to take on the task of serving the people.
We see the sacraments, outward signs of God’s grace, radiant among the first Christians. The best part about it is we still have them and receive them today. Do you understand that the Holy Spirit is the 1st installment of eternal life? We have the 3rd Person of the Holy Trinity in our heart guiding us when we say, “Come Holy Spirit!”
Live with confidence, believe and seek understanding with the power of the Holy Spirit in you! Jesus promises that we don’t need anything else to be brave and endure persecution. Are you on fire with the Spirit? Are you being a missionary in your home, school, community? It is what you were called to do, designed to do, don’t fight it or run away from it, but embrace it!
Today’s challenge: When in a difficult conversation in a difficult situation, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you tell the Truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you all throughout the day. Make Come HS your password on your phone or tablet to remind you of these 3 powerful words to an important prayer that every generation of believers needs.
Be a servant, be a saint today!