Stephen was about to breathe his last. Do you know what his final words were? We shall see. In today’s Gospel reading from John 6, Jesus first utters the words, “I am the bread of life.” We’ll go much deeper in the coming days.
After the kangaroo court convicted Stephen of blasphemy, they threw him out of the city and began stoning him. Stephen had every right to be angry and vengeful and call down the wrath of God on those who were killing him. His final words? “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
Stephen’s attitude embodies mercy. It reminds me of how quick I am to call down fire from heaven on people for the slightest of offenses. There’s an old adage: we want mercy for ourselves and justice for everyone else. St. Stephen gives us a different perspective – a Christian one.
Father, thank you for your mercy. May we show mercy as well, even to those gravely harm us. Amen.