June 2, 2019
Christ is Risen, Alleluia! He is truly Risen, Alleluia!
“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.”
On many occasions we are touched by an event. Someone does something heroic, or shows great kindness. We might not remember their name or the circumstance. Of the two individuals singled out by St. Luke in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles we remember Stephen for his heroism, and Paul for his eventual conversion.
The deacon Stephen suffered martyrdom. Saul, eventually met the Lord and became the great St. Paul. Like Jesus at Calvary, Stephen entrusted his life to the Lord and offered forgiveness for his murderers. The persecutor became the great preacher and apostle.
As we reflect on the life of the early church, may we see that Christians are persecuted in countless places today. Martyrdom continues in Syria and Iraq. St. Oscar Romero in El Salvador, and the Oklahoma priest Blessed Stephen Rother, in our own time tell us the blood of Christians is still being shed. As members of the Body of Christ, we pray for all who suffer as victims of religious oppression, and offer our own forgiveness to those who offend us.
June is the month of the Sacred Heart. Pray this little prayer often that the nuns taught me when I was a kid: “Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like Yours”! May God bless you and keep you always in His Love!
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish