Today’s reading from Acts gives us the names of the first seven deacons selected by the Apostles for ministry to the early Christian community. In our own day the Church is blessed with a veritable legion of permanent deacons, most of them married, all of them ordained as were these first seven. Think how many thousands of individuals learn their faith and are strengthened in their commitment to the Lord through the ministry of these permanent deacons. May their number grow and their ministry be strengthened!

In today’s gospel Jesus tells the frightened disciples “Do not be afraid; it is I.” Important words to hear anew during this Easter season. As we spread the hope and joy and strength of Jesus’ resurrection to one another, we ask the Risen Lord to keep us fearless and hope-filled in his service. May God strengthen our hearts and homes for this life-giving work!

—The Jesuit prayer team