Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.”
What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved
Today’s reading from Acts gives us the names of the first seven deacons selected by the Apostles for ministry to the early Christian community. In our own day the Church is blessed with a veritable legion of permanent deacons, most of them married, all of them ordained as were these first seven. Think how many thousands of individuals learn their faith and are strengthened in their commitment to the Lord through the ministry of these permanent deacons. May their number grow and their ministry be strengthened!
In today’s gospel Jesus tells the frightened disciples “Do not be afraid; it is I.” Important words to hear anew during this Easter season. As we spread the hope and joy and strength of Jesus’ resurrection to one another, we ask the Risen Lord to keep us fearless and hope-filled in his service. May God strengthen our hearts and homes for this life-giving work!
—The Jesuit prayer team
Holy God, shower us with your love and grace for we are your family in the Risen Christ. May we walk in your presence these weeks of Easter and live always in your holy presence. Amen!
—The Jesuit prayer team
Please share the Good Word with your friends!