If I were a painter, I would portray this vivid scene of St. Stephen’s last day on earth. The emotions are vibrant, the movement evocative. Where would I stand—with Stephen, giving his spirit to Christ rather than returning violence? With Saul, standing apart from the same violence while also approving and encouraging it? Stephen enters into eternal life by remaining in love and truth, even while being stoned. Saul rejects Christ without ever picking up a stone; he “looks good,” yet his act is more harmful than the stone throwers because he is the one with authority.
We witness that the power of violence is nothing compared to the power of God. Violence doesn’t have power over the heart of Stephen. It doesn’t have power to separate Saul from the love of God made present in Christ. That love later penetrates Saul’s soul and helps him become the apostle Paul. In him, as for us today, Easter Sunday is not over but alive with power.
Living Faith provides brief daily Catholic devotions based on one of the Mass readings of the day. Published new each quarter, these reflections are written by women and men from a variety of backgrounds - lay people as well as clergy and religious. Learn more.
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