Acts of the Apostles 6:8-15
Stephen was filled with grace and power and began to work miracles and great signs among the people. But then certain people came forward to debate with Stephen, some from Cyrene and Alexandria who were members of the synagogue called the Synagogue of Freedmen, and others from Cilicia and Asia. They found they could not get the better of him because of his wisdom, and because it was the Spirit that prompted what he said. So they procured some men to say, ‘We heard him using blasphemous language against Moses and against God.’ Having in this way turned the people against him as well as the elders and scribes, they took Stephen by surprise, and arrested him and brought him before the Sanhedrin. There they put up false witnesses to say, ‘This man is always making speeches against this Holy Place and the Law. We have heard him say that Jesus the Nazarene is going to destroy this Place and alter the traditions that Moses handed down to us.’ The members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently at Stephen, and his face appeared to them like the face of an angel.
After Jesus had fed the five thousand, his disciples saw him walking on the water. Next day, the crowd that had stayed on the other side saw that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not got into the boat with his disciples, but that the disciples had set off by themselves. Other boats, however, had put in from Tiberias, near the place where the bread had been eaten. When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into those boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’
‘I tell you most solemnly,
you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs
but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.
Do not work for food that cannot last,
but work for food that endures to eternal life,
the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you,
for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal.’
Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’ Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.’
Food that endures to eternal life
It has been well known that one of Singaporeans’ past time is to eat. Weekend ‘High Tea’ buffets are also very popular with us. When we know that we are going to attend a buffet like that, we will most likely be skipping lunch and prepare to feast at the buffet from three to five in the afternoon. A service staff once told me, if you are expecting fifty local guests, you will have to prepare food enough for eighty. However, if the guests are mostly Japanese, you will probably only have to prepare for thirty.
Once again, the gospel reminds us of what we are truly hungry for. Have we hungered for the right things in our lives? The crowd who ate to their fill with bread and fish did not just experience an ‘eat-all-you-want’ meal, but an encounter with Jesus and his generosity. They were so attracted to the Bread of Life that they continued to search and want to be with Him even after they were full. In search of the truth can sometimes lead one to question and may even believe that they are lies, if we are not careful and pray for wisdom from the Spirit.
At a buffet spread, we get to choose the food items we love and skip over what we do not like. With God the Father, the one who provide, not food that gets us through the day, but the food that endures through our eternal lives, gave us the one bread Jesus Christ. We do not ignore or turn away from Him. We are not to be the ones who crucified Him, because through the Holy Spirit, we have to know what is right from wrong. In today’s reading, Stephen stood before the crowd and preach about God. The crowd was not able to accept Stephen’s preaching and accuse him of blaspheming. However, the Spirit was working in him and Stephen was not seen as a threat.
Are we the same crowd today? The ones who crucified Jesus on Good Friday and the ones who could not tell right from wrong even when the Holy Spirit is present among us? Have we hungered for the right source of life? Monetary wealth and popular status does not get us through to the Kingdom of God, we are to choose and eat the one true Bread that feeds our soul.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Austin Leong)
Prayer: We pray for wise choices and may your Holy Spirit Lord, come down upon us like You did to Stephen, so we may speak of truth with confidence.
Thanksgiving: Our Lord Jesus, your resurrection have brought us hope and true faith, we thank you for your gift of Jesus, Father.
Tue, 10 May – Acts of the Apostles 7:51-8:1; John 6:30-35
Wed, 11 May – Acts of the Apostles 8:1-8; John 6:35-40
Thu, 12 May – Acts of the Apostles 8:26-40; John 6:44-51; Memorial for Ss Nereus & Archilleus, Martyrs
Fri, 13 May – Acts of the Apostles 9:1-20; John 6:52-59; Memorial for Our Lady of Fatimah
Sat, 14 May – Acts of the Apostles 1:15-17.20-26; John 15:9-17; Feast of St Matthias, Apostle
Sun, 15 May – Acts of the Apostles 2:14.36-41; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10; Fourth Sunday of Easter