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Tuesday, April 16, 2002

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Acts 7:51—8:1
Psalm 31
John 6:30-35

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our true selves

"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

Stephen, the first martyr, was murdered not by one person or a few people but by a crowd. Many people directly joined in murdering Stephen. They picked up stones with their own hands and violently smashed these stones against Stephen's skull and body until he was unconscious and dead. This was a "hands-on" murder by several "stiff-necked" people, who were "always opposing the Holy Spirit" just as their fathers did (Acts 7:51). These murderers acted in a family tradition of violence and sin. Also, because only so many people can be directly involved in a murder, some, like Saul, "concurred in the act of killing" by participating in Stephen's murder indirectly (Acts 8:1).

Our natural reaction to Stephen's murderers is to consider them not representative of human nature. Surely we and most people would never do anything like that! However, the Lord reveals in the Scriptures that Stephen's murderers are typical human beings. Therefore, we should look at Stephen's murderers and say with St. Augustine: "But by the grace of God, there go I." We should not be afraid to recognize the immense evil in our fallen human nature. It should make us eternally grateful for the greatness of our salvation in Christ. Jesus is our Savior, our desperately needed Savior. Thank Jesus and live for Him.

Prayer:  Father, may I proclaim to the world Jesus, my Savior.

Promise:  "I Myself am the Bread of Life. No one who comes to Me shall ever be hungry, no one who believes in Me shall ever thirst." —Jn 6:35

Praise:  Realizing his capability of breaking every single one of the Ten Commandments, Rod is humbled in the Lord's sight and clings to his Savior.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Giles H. Pater, November 15, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 16, 2001