First Reading | Acts 7:51-8:1
Stephen was not afraid of the authorities. He refused to keep silent and continued to attack the Jewish leaders, accusing them of conspiring with the Roman authorities that led to Jesus’ death. Stephen is the benchmark for those who follow the path of martyrdom. In the lives of the saints of the Early Church, we discover the same commitment to the truth and courage in the face of threats from authorities. Are we as committed to our faith?
51 Stephen said to the people, the elders, and the scribes: “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always oppose the Holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors. 52 Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They put to death those who foretold the coming of the righteous one, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become. 53 You received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it.” 54 When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and Stephen said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. 58 They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 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. 8:1 Now Saul was consenting to his execution.
Responsorial Psalm | Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 7, 8, 17, 21
R: Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
3 Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety. 4 You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me. (R) 6 Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O Lord, O faithful God. 7
My trust is in the Lord. 8 I will rejoice and be glad of your mercy. (R) 17 Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your kindness. 21 You hide them in the shelter of your presence from the plottings of men. (R)
Gospel | John 6:30-35
Jesus sets straight the people’s understanding—that it is God, not Moses, who provided for the Chosen People in the desert. God will again provide them with new food from heaven—Jesus’ Body and Blood. This teaching marks a new direction in Jesus’ life as written by John. Jesus moves toward His suffering and death to fulfill the promise of the new Bread from heaven.
I am the bread of life, says the Lord; whoever comes to me will never hunger.
30 The crowd said to Jesus: “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? 31 Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” 32 So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 So they said to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”