7th Week of Easter
7th Week of Easter: Sunday, 2nd June 2019
Acts 7:55-60; Ps. 97(96):1, 2,6,7,9;
Rev. 22:12-14,16-17,20; Jn. 17:20-26 (Ps Wk III)
The New Testament did not produce any treatise or document specifically on the three theological virtues, faith, hope and love though the three are often mentioned, especially in the letters of St Paul. The nearest thing to a treatise on the virtue of hope were the early Acts of the Martyrs, beginning with the account of St Stephen’s martyrdom in Luke’s Acts of the Apostles.
Luke,with inspired insight underlined the similarity between Stephen’s death and that of Jesus — both were put to death “outside the city”. As Jesus died reciting the Psalm 21 (cf. Mt 27:47), so Stephen also died praying. As Jesus prayed for his executioners, so too did Stephen pray for his executioners: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them”. The early records of the death of the Martyrs teach us that dying for the sake of Christ is in fact a conformation to the death of Christ (cf. Phil 3:10) and an affirmation of our hope in the resurrection.
Lord Jesus grant us the grace that our life may be so totally conformed to Yours that our death may be a conformation to Your death and we may rise with You in the resurrection.