ANGEL-FACE

Monday of the Third Week of EasterLectionary: 273

Reading 1 ACTS 6:8-15
Stephen, filled with grace and power,

was working great wonders and signs among the people.

Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,

Cyreneans, and Alexandrians,

and people from Cilicia and Asia,

came forward and debated with Stephen,

but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.

Then they instigated some men to say,

“We have heard him speaking blasphemous words

against Moses and God.”

They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes,

accosted him, seized him,

and brought him before the Sanhedrin.

They presented false witnesses who testified,

“This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law.

For we have heard him claim

that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place

and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.”

All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him

and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Responsorial Psalm PS 119:23-24, 26-27, 29-30
R. (1ab) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

or:

R. Alleluia.

Though princes meet and talk against me,

your servant meditates on your statutes.

Yes, your decrees are my delight;

they are my counselors.

R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

or:

R. Alleluia.

I declared my ways, and you answered me;

teach me your statutes.

Make me understand the way of your precepts,

and I will meditate on your wondrous deeds.

R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

or:

R. Alleluia.

Remove from me the way of falsehood,

and favor me with your law.

The way of truth I have chosen;

I have set your ordinances before me.

R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

or:

R. Alleluia.

Alleluia MT 4:4B
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

One does not live on bread alone

but on every word that comes froth from the mouth of God.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 6:22-29
[After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea.]

The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea

saw that there had been only one boat there,

and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat,

but only his disciples had left.

Other boats came from Tiberias

near the place where they had eaten the bread

when the Lord gave thanks.

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,

they themselves got into boats

and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

And when they found him across the sea they said to him,

“Rabbi, when did you get here?”

Jesus answered them and said,

“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me

not because you saw signs

but because you ate the loaves and were filled.

Do not work for food that perishes

but for the food that endures for eternal life,

which the Son of Man will give you. 

For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” 

So they said to him,

“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”

Jesus answered and said to them,

“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

REFLECTION: ANGEL-FACE

“Throughout, Stephen’s face seemed like that of an angel.” –Acts 6:15
The modern idea is that an angel’s face is sweet, cherubic, and blissful. Yet the truth is that angels have their faces constantly focused on Jesus. Angels “fix [their] eyes on Jesus” (Heb 3:1). The angels worship Jesus, but also are in a state of constant focused attention on Jesus. Angels are messengers from God who wait for a message from God to deliver or for a command from the Lord to execute. Angels center their entire existence on Jesus (see Jn 1:51; Mt 4:11).
Angels are always at the wait. An army of “more than twelve legions of angels” stood ready for instant deployment to rescue Jesus as he was about to be arrested in Gethsemane. Jesus noted specifically that these angels were ready “at a moment’s notice” (Mt 26:53). The obvious conclusion is that these angels’ faces were fixed on the hand of almighty God, completely armed and totally prepared to enter battle upon command (see Ps 123:1-2).
St. Stephen, no doubt, was worshipping God as he sat in the crossfire of the trial by fire in the Sanhedrin. But His face was like that of an angel, with eyes focused on the Lord. Though the members of the Sanhedrin fixed their eyes “intently” on Stephen (Acts 6:15), Stephen’s eyes were on the Lord, not on his dire circumstances. Stephen looked to God above in worship (Acts 7:55), but he was also looking to the Lord to see if he was to deliver a message, much of which he delivered in Acts chapter 7. When Stephen was being stoned to death, he continued to look at Jesus, this time at the crucified Jesus. Stephen quoted two passages of Jesus crucified as His final words (Acts 7:59-60).
Have the face of an angel. “Fix your eyes on Jesus” (Heb 3:1).
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, may I desire to see nothing but You.

PROMISE: “Your decrees are my delight.” –Ps 119:24

PRAISE: St. Joseph listened in his sleep to the angel’s message.

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