Saint for the day: Stanislaus (1030-1079)
Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:
“Do not work for the food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life.” (Today’s Holy Gospel according to St. John 6:27)
In these coming days we will continue to hear from the Gospel of John in the section called “Bread of Life discourse.” And we will be reminded – as the hymn says, “Look beyond the bread you eat. See your savior and your God.” Jesus is trying to get his followers to seek more than just a bread that feeds for today but does nothing for tomorrow. If we always come to Jesus looking for our needs to be met we are calling ourselves his beggars not his brothers and sisters – God’s beggars not God’s children. We’ll say more about this later.
Today and tomorrow our readings from the Acts of the Apostles give us the account of the martyrdom of Stephen and we’d have to be blind not to see how this event connects up with what the disciples experienced when they were brought before the Sanhedrin, and how both events mirror the interrogation of Jesus on the same issues. Jesus is condemned to death; the disciples are flogged and sent away with a warning not to preach about Jesus; Stephen – looking up to heaven appears to have the face of an angel – is stoned to death and echoes Jesus words on the Cross: “into your hands, Oh Lord, I commend my spirit.” And the ultimate plea: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” I have to admit that I’m not sure how I would respond if “pushed to the wall” and challenged to attest my faith in Jesus and I have to ask myself, “what does it take to be a saint. If people looked intently at me, would they see my face as that of an angel? Or, as G.K. Chesterton says, “If you were arrested today for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Jesus gives us his Bread of Life and our participation in Eucharistic Celebrations should be having some life changing effects in our lives. “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof. But only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Amen, Alluluia!