Today's text from the Acts of the Apostles gives us another example of the parallelism that exists between St. Luke's Gospel and his "second volume." Throughout the twin texts, St. Luke emphasizes that the mission and ministry of Jesus continued after the Resurrection through the apostles, disciples and followers of Jesus. St. Stephen is a prime example.
Chosen to be one of the first seven deacons of the Church, St. Stephen's trial is characterized by the same accusations brought against Jesus, even to the point of referencing Jesus’ sayings about the Temple of Jerusalem. When he is led to the city gates where he is stoned, his last words echo the words of Jesus as they both ask forgiveness for their persecutors. He also commends his spirit to God, just as Jesus did as he hung on the cross.
Peter's first miracle is to cure a paralytic just as Jesus did at the synagogue of Capernaum. Just as Jesus cured the servant of the Roman centurion, Peter extends the mission to the Gentiles by baptizing Centurion Cornelius and his household. Later on in Acts, St. Paul's trial will also mirror that of Jesus. These are but a few examples of the parallelism employed by St. Luke.
This technique was employed by St. Luke to illustrate how we, the latter day followers of Jesus, are to continue the mission of Jesus. May we always keep this in mind as we go about our daily lives trying to bring the message of the Gospel to bear on our world!
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator