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Monday, April 26, 2004

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Acts 6:8-15
Psalm 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30
John 6:22-29

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the face of peace

"The members of the Sanhedrin who sat there stared at him intently. Throughout, Stephen's face seemed like that of an angel." —Acts 6:15

If a large number of people were debating with you, what would be the expression on your face and the reactions in your heart? What if, after your opponents lost the debate, "they persuaded some of the men to make the charge that they had heard" you "speaking blasphemies" (Acts 6:11). When others lie about you and falsely accuse you, how do you look; how do you act? If these liars were believed and you were accosted, seized, and brought to court, how would you react, especially when more liars accused you of blasphemy? Stephen, the victim of all these crimes, took it quite well. His "face seemed like that of an angel" (Acts 6:15).

Stephen was profoundly peaceful because he had his eyes fixed on Jesus (see Acts 7:55-56), "Who inspires and perfects our faith" (Heb 12:2). Like Jesus at the time of His death, Stephen entrusted His life to the Lord (Acts 7:59; cf Lk 23:46). Like Jesus at the time of His death, Stephen also forgave his murderers (Acts 7:60; cf Lk 23:34). Stephen had such amazing peace under such evil conditions because he was immersed into, preoccupied with, baptized into, Jesus. His attention was entirely on Jesus. Stephen was like Jesus and lived through Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus, and for Jesus. Stephen had peace in Jesus (Jn 16:33).

When we began the Easter season, we renewed our baptismal promises. Baptized into the risen Jesus, we have the peace beyond understanding (Phil 4:7).

Prayer:  Father, transform me completely through the risen Christ.

Promise:  "You should not be working for perishable food but for food that remains unto life eternal, food which the Son of Man will give you." —Jn 6:27

Praise:  Because of her absolute trust in God, Beth had profound peace when her husband's business was brought to bankruptcy.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, October 9, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 14, 2003