BE PLUS

Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the ChurchLectionary: 274

Reading 1 ACTS 7:51—8:1A
Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes:

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears,

you always oppose the Holy Spirit;

you are just like your ancestors.

Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute?

They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one,

whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.

You received the law as transmitted by angels,

but you did not observe it.”
When they heard this, they were infuriated,

and they ground their teeth at him.

But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit,

looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God

and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,

and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened

and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

But they cried out in a loud voice,

covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.

They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.

The witnesses laid down their cloaks

at the feet of a young man named Saul. 

As they were stoning Stephen, he called out,

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice,

“Lord, do not hold this sin against them”;

and when he said this, he fell asleep.
Now Saul was consenting to his execution.

Responsorial Psalm PS 31:3CD-4, 6 AND 7B AND 8A, 17 AND 21AB
R. (6a) Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Be my rock of refuge,

a stronghold to give me safety.

You are my rock and my fortress;

for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.

R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Into your hands I commend my spirit;

you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.

My trust is in the LORD;

I will rejoice and be glad of your mercy.

R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Let your face shine upon your servant;

save me in your kindness.

You hide them in the shelter of your presence

from the plottings of men.

R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Alleluia JN 6:35AB
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

I am the bread of life, says the Lord;

whoever comes to me will never hunger.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 6:30-35
The crowd said to Jesus:

“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?

What can you do?

Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them,

“Amen, amen, I say to you,

it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;

my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 

For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven

and gives life to the world.”
So they said to Jesus,

“Sir, give us this bread always.” 

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;

whoever comes to me will never hunger,

and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

REFLECTION: BE PLUS

” ‘So that we can put faith in You,’ they asked Him, ‘What sign are You going to perform for us to see? What is the “work” You do?’ ” –John 6:30
Jesus was asked: “What is the ‘work’ You do?” (Jn 6:30) Jesus responded not by saying what He did but Who He was. Jesus said: “I Myself am the Bread of Life” (Jn 6:35). Life in Christ is not primarily what we do, but who we are in Jesus.
Stephen was a very successful worker. He took over an administrative position fraught with difficulties and successfully dealt with the problem (see Acts 6:1ff). He was even more gifted in preaching and evangelizing. Yet Stephen was not primarily concerned with continuing his good work. His priority was being a disciple of the Lord, even if that meant his work on earth had to end as Stephen became the first Christian martyr.
When we emphasize who we are more than what we do, we do not make our work less important, but more important. Work that expresses who we are in Christ is the most important work in the world. When we focus on being God’s children, we are God’s workers in an awesome sense.
In this Easter season, may our work rise from the dead of pride, selfishness, and greed. May we work because of who we are in the risen Christ.
PRAYER: Prayer: Father, teach me to be what You want me to be. May my doing always come from my being in You.

PROMISE: “No one who comes to Me shall ever be hungry, no one who believes in Me shall ever thirst.” –Jn 6:35

PRAISE: St. Athanasius defended Christ’s divinity though in exile for seventeen years.

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