Tuesday, April 17, 2018
April 17 - 3rd Week of Easter - Tuesday
+ Our readings today are poignant and ought not be anything less than a stern admonition to repentance, a full repentance, and a turning to the Life of Christ, Life in the Holy Sprit, that is available to us now in astounding ways. While it is true that we have heard the gospels, some of us for decades now, to gloss over the Truth that is buried deep in them because they have become wrote at this time in history is not a good idea.
As the deacon Stephen is impelled and inspired by the Holy Spirit, as he lived in the Spirit, to call the people, their elders and their scribes: Stiff-necked and Stubborn! (Reminiscent of how St. Paul called the Galatians “stupid” for so quickly abandoning the heart of their gift of faith), for acting just like their own juridical ancestors who did not believe what the Prophets were telling them either – about the fulfillment of the Law in a coming Messiah, in fact, Jesus Himself. And now you have become betrayers and murders: murders of God’s own Son, who is your Lord, Savior and True King.
And infuriated they rushed him, attacked him, and stoned him to death: but, and this is KEY, while they were doing that: Stephen – filled and protected by the Holy Spirit – gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God’s right hand” – this is absolute confirmation for us believers in Jesus, that this is exactly what he saw as a reality, the risen ascended Jesus in glory – and then as Jesus forgave his executioners, so did Stephen as he said: ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’
And then Stephen prayed that immortal prayer: “Lord Jesus receive my spirit.” and then he “fell asleep” – This is great imagery! Because that is what the moment of death is for the Christian – a falling asleep in the body, but an amazing awakening for the soul as it becomes eternal and enters the dimension that it was always intended to inhabit: God’s own Life, God’s own Being, God’s own Love!
And of course in the gospel passage, Jesus is discussing the sign of manna from heaven that “Moses gave” the people to nourish their bodies, and Jesus corrects them and says: No, Moses did not give that bread, but my Father did, and I did, - because that bread was a forthcoming sign of me – because I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE, I AM THE BREAD OF LOVE, I AM THE BREAD OF PEACE – and if you come to me and EAT MY BREAD – the VERY EUCHARISTIC BREAD OF THIS MASS – then you will life, love and have profound peace eternally – and this is dead serious: if you don’t, YOU WON’T!
The choice is mine, the choice is yours! So, will you be stiff-necked, stubborn and stupid and run away today – or will you EMBRACE YOUR GOD and LIVE? and will you do anything He asks you to help others to do so.
You are our rock of refuge Lord, in the storm-tossed sea of life in the world, you are our stronghold and our fortress – we believe that you will lead us and guide us, safely to you!
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