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Tuesday, May 9, 2000

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Acts 7:51—8:1
Psalm 31
John 6:30-35

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who will die?

"Those who listened to his words were stung to the heart." —Acts 7:54

At the first Christian Pentecost, many of those who heard Peter preach "were stabbed in the heart" by his words and the convicting power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37, our transl). Three thousand of them repented, were baptized, and received the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:38, 41).

After Stephen preached, the people hearing him "were cut to the heart" (Acts 7:54, our transl). Nevertheless, they did not repent. Rather, "they ground their teeth in anger at" Stephen (Acts 7:54). "The onlookers were shouting aloud, holding their hands over their ears as they did so. Then they rushed at him as one man, dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him" (Acts 7:57-58).

"God's word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb 4:12). God's word resists our resistance and demands a response. As our hearts begin to burn (Lk 24:32) when they are penetrated by God's word (Heb 4:12), we will either crucify our flesh "with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:24) or kill the Lord's prophets and thereby continue "crucifying the Son of God" and "holding Him up to contempt" (Heb 6:6).

What will you do? Even if you try to hide from God's word, His prophets may find you. What will you do when you are confronted with the life-changing demands of God? Say with Mary: "Let it be done to me according to Your word" (Lk 1:38, our transl).

Prayer:  "Lord, do not hold this sin against them" (Acts 7:60). "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7:59).

Promise:  "God's bread comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." —Jn 6:33

Praise:  Rita became angry at the words her priest spoke to her in Confession, but later realized their truth.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, October 4, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 1999