Search This Blog

Friday, December 25, 2020

Reflection 2020-12-26 Octave of Christmas – St Stephen, Deacon and Protomartyr

Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59; Psalm 31; Matthew 10:17-22
St Stephen, Protomartyr
The Feast of St Stephen happens immediately after Christmas as if to remind us that Christmas is not about a warm fuzzy feeling but it is about offering our lives to the Savior who was born. Stephen spoke the Truth to his enemies who could not accept the Truth. These people banded together to argue with him. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which Stephen spoke. At the end of the argument, Stephen made a confession: Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God! His enemies could not accept this and they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Jesus did not come to let us feel good so we can give gifts. He did not come to let us do what we want. Jesus came to proclaim the love of God so that those who believe in him will not perish but have eternal life. This requires proclaiming the Truth and giving up our lives for him just as Stephen did.
As if to confirm this, Jesus said in the Gospel today: beware of those who oppose you, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. A Christian should expect to be persecuted because people will not accept the Truth we proclaim.
We see this today. Those who stand for life are shut down and physically harmed. Those who stand for the sanctity of marriage and of the human person are shut down and persecuted, often losing their livelihood. The days are coming when Christians will be openly persecuted and Christians need to stand up, not to fight through violence, but by speaking the Truth, relying on the Holy Spirit who will give us what we will say at that time.
Jesus said: but the one who endures to the end will be saved. We are called to endure to the end. Life will be difficult for Christians in the coming months. We will be persecuted and abused and ridiculed. But these are opportunities to say Yes to Jesus, to confess him as Lord. I do not know how I will act when the time comes. But we pray that when that time comes, we may be ready to give up our lives to confess to the world, that Jesus is Lord and have confidence that even if we lose everything, we will, in the end, gain Jesus Christ. This alone is enough.
Lord, give me courage to stand for you, to confess you are Lord. May I have the courage to give glory to your name. St Stephen, help me to rely on the Spirit to speak the Truth in wisdom. Help me to give my life for Jesus.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to post comments. However, be aware that comments are moderated and may be removed at the author's discretion.