April 25.  Ernest said,  “You know, that scripture story about Stephen from yesterday and today is a big challenge.  He did great wonders because of his faith and also verbally really attacked the leaders because of their lack of faith and acceptance of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. So what are we supposed to do?”  His brother replied,  “I don’t want to get killed but I do wish I had more courage. It’s frightening what some of the terrorist groups, Islamic State or Boko Haram people, are doing nowadays, taking hostages and killing people, not even because they are stating their Christian belief, but just because they are other than themselves, Christians, or Jews it doesn’t seem to matter. Religious bigotry and violence hasn’t ended has it?”   

Scripture Stephen said, “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit as your fathers did.”   When they heard this were enraged. Stephen full of the Holy Spirit said, ” Behold I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” They cast him out of the city and stoned him.  From Acts 7:51-8:1a.    Pope Francis.  If the music of the Gospel ceases to resonate in our very being, we will lose the joy born of compassion, the tender love born of trust, the capacity for reconciliation that has its source in our knowledge that we have been forgiven and sent forth.   If the music of the Gospel ceases to sound in our homes, our public squares, our workplaces, our political and financial life, then we will no longer hear the strains that challenge us to defend the dignity of every man and woman.  FT277. Reflect, share and act, pray.  Have we experienced or showed bigotry?