People can be so blind. They can’t see what’s right in front of them. In the first reading Stephen chastises the people because they had the right information, they were told by prophets and angels but they wouldn’t believe it. They denied the prophecies, they put the prophets to death, and when Stephen reminds them that those prophecies came true – they were told the truth but wouldn’t accept and acknowledge it – they get so angry at him that they stone him to death. I suppose he should have seen it coming, given their past history with prophecy. Plus, people don’t like to be told they’re wrong or have their mistakes shown to them. But then that just perpetuates the blindness. It turns out that Stephen had it right too, and the people he was trying to help kept getting it wrong.
The people in the Gospel don’t believe either at first. They are in the presence of Jesus himself and they want some sign. They say Moses gave his people manna from heaven – what can Jesus do for a sign? But Jesus explains that Moses did not give his people the manna – God gave them the bread. And God gave us Jesus. He is the sign. He is the bread. He is the manna from heaven. How sad that those people were so blind that they could not see what was right in front of them.
The people who stoned Stephen could not recognize the prophets or the prophecies, and when they were told of their errors, they continued in their denial and refused to recognize their mistakes and refused to recognize the prophet in their midst. The people who wanted some proof from Jesus did not recognize that God was right in front of them, but unlike those who stoned Stephen, when they did recognize Jesus, they knew he was all they would need. He is the bread and those who acknowledge that will never be hungry.
By Tamora Whitney