MONDAY WEEK THREE OF EASTER YR B, APRIL 16, 2018
READINGS: Acts 6: 8-15, Ps. 119, John. 6: 22-29
THEME: This is the work of God that you believe in him whom he has sent.
Humans are God’s workers on earth and many do many things thinking they are doing the work of God. Seven deacons were selected to do the work of God of which Stephen was just one of them. He understands that each person has special call and duty to be performed. This is charism of which each has his peculiar one to distinguish himself apart from the general work that each is called to do. Charism and its utilization make each person different and special before God. Every child of God must try to identify his special call and gift and work towards its fulfilment. Among the seven deacons, Stephen recognized he has the gift of eloquence and performing of miracle, he did not wait for others to do it first, he did not want to do what others do or the way they do theirs rather he allowed the gift of God in him to work effectively. Stephen believed in the Spirit of Jesus and worked with it and that is what doing the work of God is.
Beloved in Christ, how much effort do we make to identify and to follow the gifts of the Spirit in us? How ready are we to do it as God wants not afraid of people or what they will say and do? Doing the work of God obviously by using the gifts he has given entails suffering, accusation, and persecution and even can lead to death as in the case of Stephen. But a gallant and good soldier does not say that because war leads to casualty, he would not move into the battle field. We cannot decide to have it cheap and take it the easy going way. We cannot work merely to please people against pleasing God. This was what Peter told the Jewish authorities that they cannot promise to please them and displease God; obedience to God is first to obedience to humans. Stephen understood and believed Christ’s saying that he who tries to save his life would lose it but he who loses his life for God’s sake would save it. Many Christians due to fear and people’s reactions shy away from their divinely given assignment; this is sin against the Holy Spirit and has to be avoided out rightly.
Beloved in Christ, many Christians think that doing the work of God and belonging to God is to follow the direction of miracles. Many Christians today think that only the pastors who perform wonders/miracles are the only ones God recognizes and that God is using. This belief has made many become miracle crazy and miracle harlots. They move from one prayer centre to another, from one prophet/man of God to another. Following Christ and belonging to him for many has become an exercise to gain and not to change or to sacrifice. This attitude has made many pastors, priests and prophets to concentrate on satisfying this longing of people by forcing themselves to perform miracles and wonders leading to harnessing evil powers just to make sure things happen. Today Jesus reprimanded the followers who come for the sake of miracle by saying: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs (signs of God’s presence), but because you have your fill of the loaves” Jesus advices us thus: Do not labour for what perishes but for what endures and gives eternal life. May we be counted among the blessed who work in the law of the Lord. May the Lord teach us his statutes and make us grasp his precepts so that we may be saved from falsehood, Amen.