Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
Psalm 33: 1-2, 4-5, 18-19
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous.
Praise befits the upright.
Praise the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.
For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
and to keep them alive in famine.
When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.
The scriptures today emphasize the idea of being set apart. In the first reading, we read about the need for the holy men to be set apart from the rest of the community to join with the disciples in prayer and serving the word of God. They pray and set apart men for the task so the rest of the community can tend to the corporal needs of those in need. The psalmist declares how the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him and how He will save them from famine and death. In the gospel, Jesus walks on the water before the disciples. He sets himself apart from human capabilities demonstrating His divinity. If Jesus were just like other humans he would not be able to perform miracles, raise people from the dead, or walk on water.
As Christians, we are called to be set apart from the world. We cannot cause miracles to happen, raise people from the dead, or walk on water or do anything that defies the boundaries of our physical world. Jesus, though, being both man and God, could. It is Jesus who sets up apart. It is the power of His name and his grace that allows us to perform miracles, etc. Jesus, through His death and resurrection invites us to be united with himself. We are called to share in the divinity of Christ. Therefore, being called apart and to be disciples of the Lord, we are also called to set aside time just for prayer and serving the word of God.
Today, take time out of your schedule to pray, read scripture, and listen for the Lord. If you do not have a regular prayer time, dedicate yourself to finding a specific time each day for prayer so you can be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I thank you for calling me to yourself. Thank you for calling me to be united with you. Help me to deepen my relationship with you through daily prayer and increase my desire to know and love you more as well. Amen.