Do not hold this sin against them- Tuesday, 3rd week in Easter time- Acts 7:51—8:1a


Do not hold this sin against them- Tuesday, 3rd week in Easter time- Acts 7:51—8:1a

When you think of the Easter season you think of joy, peace and hope, and yet the Easter season also has jealousy, scheming and murder!

It takes a lot of hate to throw a stone with the deliberate intent, to take another human life. The  waters get even more murky when the murderers are not some half crazed uneducated village folk, stoked by communal hatred, but educated religious leaders of the council, themselves!

Stephen became the victim of clerical jealousy. He himself, a recently ordained “cleric” was now brought down by clerics of another sect. Such was the hatred against Stephen that the sacred author even recounts that the council of elders “ground their teeth at Stephen” and the very men who once saw in his face “the face of an angel” (6:15) now did not want to hear the voice of that angel, for we are told “they covered their ears” in order not to listen to him (7:57).”

These seven verses are so shockingly filled with hate, and to make a point, I am going to list the hate words – enraged, ground their teeth, covered their ears, shouted loudly, rushed at him, dragged him, stoned him and finally, Stephen died. But like the Lord, Stephen too had his last words and they were love filled not hate filled. In that sense you may identify in this passage what you choose to see; hate and jealousy, or love and forgiveness.

Stephen’s death was brutal, but he was passionate in his love for the Lord. He was a dedicated servant at table and an ardent preacher of the word. He allowed the Lord to use him to work great signs, yet he never drew attention to himself. He was not afraid to charge the Jewish authorities with the truth when he called them, “stiff necked people uncircumcised in heart” and yet his last words like Jesus were words of forgiveness for them, “do not hold this sin against them.”

The death of this proto-martyr of the Church was supervised by one who was himself to embrace martyrdom. Saul perhaps participated in Stephen’s trial and sentencing, and while we know that Saul did not pick up a stone to kill him, he approved of his death (Acts 8:1). Stephen, true to the meaning of his name, “crown”, won the crown of martyrdom for himself and how! Look carefully at the text of the martyrdom of Stephen, for present are the three persons of the Blessed Trinity; they were all there, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Fr Warner D’Souza

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One thought on “Do not hold this sin against them- Tuesday, 3rd week in Easter time- Acts 7:51—8:1a”

  • It’s a tough decision to choose love over a crowd of hate and forgiveness rather than spite. It’s a matter if choice, maybe dragging you to your grave of a Grace filled death. Tough love yet again.💪♥️.


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