December 26, St. Stephen, the first martyr
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. — Psalm 31:6
Mass Readings: Acts 6:8-10;7:54-59/Matthew 10:17-22
From Death to Life
It might seem strange that on the day after Christmas, when we are still full of visions of sugar plums, that the Church celebrates the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr. We move directly from the birth of the Christ Child to the death of one of His first followers.
But perhaps Stephen’s death is really telling what Christ’s birth is all about. Jesus said He “came so that that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). But He also tells us that the way to life is by dying to self: “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Mt 16:25). This was the pattern of Christ’s life and must be the pattern of ours if we hope to find the eternal life He promises.
Prayer: St. Stephen, give me courage to proclaim the good news of Christ.
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