Jesus’ Life: Chapter 20 – Early Spread Of Gospel By the Disciples
The primary role of the Seven Deacons was to oversee the distribution of food and alms to the poor. However, filled with the Holy Spirit, they also supported the ministry of the Apostles through their daily work as they inevitably conveyed the teachings of Jesus in their words and their actions among the people.
Stephen, probably the first of the seven to be nominated Deacon, was described as “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,” but his teachings and miraculous works aroused both the wrath and envy of a group of Jews from the synagogue of the Freedmen. (Acts 6:5)
It’s likely that Stephen, giving supremacy to God’s higher revelations as spoken through Jesus, bluntly told them their laws and practices would soon pass away and although they “argued with him…, they were not able to resist the Spirit with which he spoke”. (Acts 6:10)
The incensed Jews, resisting change and Stephen’s message, then secretly coerced others to falsely claim, “We have heard this man speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God,” and incited the elders and experts in the law to have him arrested. (Acts 6:11)
They “seized” Stephen and took him for trial before the Sanhedrin with Caiaphas probably sitting as high priest, just as he did at Jesus’ trial.
The false witnesses came forward and said, “This man does not stop saying things against this holy place and the law. For we have heard him saying that Jesus the Nazarene will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us”. (Acts 6:13-14)
As the council members looked at Stephen, “His face was like the face of an angel”. (Acts 6:15) (Acts 6:8-15)
The light of Jesus was shining from the face of Stephen.
Lord Jesus, may the light that others see in me be a true reflection of your Gospel teachings.
Prayer: Most Holy Mary (John Bosco)
Most Holy Virgin Mary, Help of Christians,
how sweet it is to come to your feet
imploring your perpetual help.
If earthly mothers cease not to remember their children,
how can you, the most loving of all mothers forget me?
Grant then to me, I implore you,
your perpetual help in all my necessities,
in every sorrow, and especially in all my temptations.
I ask for your unceasing help for all who are now suffering.
Help the weak, cure the sick, convert sinners.
Grant through your intercessions
many vocations to the religious life.
Obtain for us, O Mary, Help of Christians,
that having invoked you on earth
we may love and eternally thank you in heaven.