Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. Then they secretly instigated some men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.”
They stirred up the people as well as the elders and the scribes; then they suddenly confronted him, seized him, and brought him before the council. They set up false witnesses who said, “This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses handed on to us.” And all who sat in the council looked intently at him, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
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 http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
How’s your ‘poker face’? Do people tell you they find you hard to read? Or maybe the opposite, they say your face ‘gives you away’? Think back to a time that required courage—maybe you had to give a presentation, or have a difficult conversation with a friend, coworker or family member—wasn’t the expression on your face part of your armor?
The line that stood out to me in today’s reading was the last line from the Acts: “…his face was like the face of an angel.” I see Jesus in Saint Stephen’s face. I think back to when our Blessed Lord was brought to the Sanhedrin, “but he was silent and answered nothing.” (MK 14:61) There must’ve been such a profoundly serene look on our Lord’s face at that time; did the accosting crowds recognize Jesus as they looked intently at Stephen? I wonder if Stephen was thinking of Jesus at that moment, too.
Today, when you’re at work, in traffic, going about your daily affairs, take a moment and ask God for the grace to see Jesus in someone else’s face.
—Kristin Dillon is a lay minister who has worked with Charis Ministries and Holy Name Cathedral. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
“Jesus! Thy dear and holy Face
Is the bright star that guides my way;
Thy gentle glance, so full of grace,
Is my true heaven on earth, today.
My love finds out the holy charm
Of Thy dear eyes with tear-drops wet;
Through mine own tears I smile at Thee,
And in Thy griefs my pains forget.”
—St. Therese of Lisieux, from the Canticle to the Holy Face