In the Acts of the Apostles we see not only the glorious beginnings of the Church but we see the first divisions. Although all of the first disciples were Jews, even they found ways to divide themselves. The Greek speaking Jews and the Aramaic speaking Jews. The Greek speakers would have read the Septuagent (the Greek translation of the Old Testament). The Aramaic speakers would have thought of themselves as the purests reading the Old Testament in Hebrew, a language similar to Aramaic.
When the Greek speakers complained that their widows were not receiving equal treatment, the Aposltes layed hands on 7 men chosen by the Greek part of the community, laying the foundation for the ministry we now call deacon, from diakonia, to wait on table. Their primary ministry was care for the poor and needy but as we see in the gospel today they also preached, which is why in the Catholic Church we allow deacons to preach. Some preached quite powerfully.
Stephen (Stephanos) is perhaps the most famous. If we look closely we will see that the description Luke gives of him closely resembles the description given of Jesus even to the trumped up charges of blasphemy. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Stephen's life becomes an imitation of Christ. Even the temple officials can see it
All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
This was not the result of some unique grace given to Stephen that is no longer available. It is merely the result of Stephan allowing the grace received to fully manifest itself in his life. As we will see, Stephen fully and fearlessly embraced what it means to follow Jesus.
How fully are we ready to embrace our Christian identity? Can people look at us and see the divine presence shining in our faces? It's not difficult; we have the capacity. It can begin with something as simple as a smile. Of the course even that simple smile must have a source. That daily source is prayer. In my younger years I used to often be too busy to pray. Now in middle age I realize there is no such thing. Pray and the rest will fall in place. Pray even when you don't feel like. Pray especially when you don't feel like it. The world around you may not change but you will.
Today's mass was celebrated for the Ethiponia Christtians who were true witnesses to the faith. The church "reccomends earnesty" that all priest celebrate Eucharist daily. If you have an intention for which you would like mass offered do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.