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.
This weekend brings us to the end of April, a month in which the dying and rising of Jesus have been part of our daily faith experience. Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles recounts the choice of seven disciples to attend to the daily tasks of feeding the poor and assisting those in need.
Each of us walks in the shoes of these disciples: we carry forward the daily outreach of Jesus in practical, often unnoticed service of one another…at home, at work and in school. We are charged to recognize one another’s needs—the needs of the body, yes! But also the needs of the heart and spirit. This is what it means to throw in our lot with the Risen Jesus. This is the practical reality of sharing his life and spirit in our daily walk with one another.
Jesus Christ is risen today! How will others recognize this reality in what I say and do today?
—the Jesuit prayer team
Up from the tomb of all the past conceals!
See how our God a brighter day reveals.
Up from the tomb! Though death had bound us tight,
Like Lazarus, we stumble into light!
—Rory Cooney, “Up From the Earth” © 1987, North American Liturgy Resources