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Saturday, May 7, 2011

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Acts 6:1-7
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
John 6:16-21

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rise to the occasion

"Look around among your own number, brothers, for seven men acknowledged to be deeply spiritual and prudent." —Acts 6:3

"The community of believers," which was "of one heart and one mind" (Acts 4:32), was in danger of dividing. "The ones who spoke Greek complained that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food, as compared with the widows of those who spoke Hebrew" (Acts 6:1). This disagreement could have split the Church, distracted it from its mission, and stunted its evangelistic outreach. The Lord dealt with this situation by raising up the first seven deacons. Because of them, the Church remained united, the apostles continued "to concentrate on prayer and the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4), and "the word of God continued to spread, while at the same time the number of the disciples in Jerusalem enormously increased" (Acts 6:7).

Right now, the Church is in danger, in the dark, rowing on rough seas (Jn 6:17-18). As He raised up the seven deacons, the Lord now wants to raise up very special men and women. Like the first deacons, these people must be peacemakers, servants, and witnesses for the risen Christ. Like the first deacons and Jesus Himself, they may make peace through their own blood (see Col 1:20) as they are martyred for love of Jesus and His Church.

Will you be one of these special servants? Will you live a life of service and die a death of love? Let the risen Christ grace you to rise to the occasion.

Prayer:  Father, I offer my life for the unity of Your Church (see Jn 11:51-52).

Promise:  "They wanted to take Him into the boat, but suddenly it came aground on the shore they had been approaching." —Jn 6:21

Praise:  Ann pours herself out in loving service to her children, husband, and aging mother, drawing strength from her Lord.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, XXX 11, 2011

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