Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: April 19, Lectionary # 274. Acts 7:51-8:1a. Psalm
31:3cd,4,6,7b.8a. 17, 21ab. John 6:30-35:
In gradeschool many of us heard the expression, “The blood of martyrs is
the seed of the Church.”
As we listen to the Acts we discover that Stephen, the deacon, is the seed
that has fallen into the ground that produces much fruit( John 12: 23-26).
Stephen becomes the first martyr because of his witness to the person of
Jesus. As we read the full story about him which is only in Acts, we see
that he has put on the Lord Jesus Christ so well that he replicates not
only his words but his total gift of self out of love and forgiveness for
those who have stoned him to death. He was a Greek speaking Jew who
converted to the new way that was continued by Jesus’ disciples and
apostles. He helped the latter to devote themselves more to the word of
God while he ministered to the Hellenists’ needs for food and shelter. This
was the role of the early deacons in the emerging community, the Church.
Stephen appears in the following parts of the Acts of the Apostles ( 6:5 –
7: 1-8:1a. 11:19, 22:20).
The key message we can take from his martyrdom is that of forgiveness for
those who put him to death by stoning him. He prays, “Lord, do not hold
this sin against them; and when he said this he died.” Our response in the
Psalm for today is similar, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Psalm
In the Gospel Jesus continues his discourse on the Bread of Life. He leads
us through a reflection on Exodus and the gift of Manna that came from Got
through Moses. The Israelites were fed with bread from heaven. Jesus will
continue to lead us through his discourse which will change to wisdom and
then to the reality of his own gift of self to us. We learn from this that
to participate well in the Eucharist we need to prepare ourselves by
listening to what Jesus says in this chapter on the Eucharist and how we
grow through this careful preparation to appreciate what we then experience
in receiving the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of the Lord.