Giovanni Battista Piazzetta:
St. Stephen, One of the Seven, Proto-martyr
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., late 1730s
Readings for Mass
First Reading: Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
Gospel: Luke 9:22-25
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 (NRSV, Acts 6:2-4).”
Let us pray.
Father, in the course of the journey towards you who are our only true future, it is often the case that we unfortunately ignore the interests and well-being of some of our sisters and brothers journeying along with us. In the apostolic Church that was the case in Jerusalem with Christians of Hellenic origin. To address their needs Seven were appointed and ordained to serve them, those we often recognize today as the first deacons.
Father, we stand ready to accept further growth in your life through the Word always present to us, may we be ever conscious of those close to us and faraway that we may be always ready to share with them your life and whatever else they may need and encourage them on our common journey. Keep us conscious, Father, that every human being is loved by you and called to share in your life.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.