Today’s Inspirational Snippet: “Jesus Christ, Lord of all things. You see my heart, you know my desires. Possess all that I am. A Christian martyrdom is never an accident. There is no lover who is not also a Martyr. And so the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth, raised Stephen from earth to heaven; shown first in the King, it later shone forth in his soldier. “
Reflection for Monday, Feast of St. Stephen, Protomartyr. Year A. Cycle I. December 26th, 2022
Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17
Today’s Rosary: The Joyful Mysteries
Today’s Saint Quote: “You desire that which exceeds my humble powers, but I trust in the compassion and mercy of the All-powerful God.” – St. Stephen
WILL YOU BE A MARTYRS FOR CHRIST, AS WE PROCLAIM THE REAL CHRISTMAS SPIRIT
Today, we celebrate together as the Church the Feast of St. Stephen, the Protomartyr or the very first Martyr of the Church. This means that St. Stephen the first one to die for his faith in God, in giving his life for the sake of the glory of God and in the midst of his mission. This celebration of St. Stephen and his martyrdom is an important reminder for all of us what Christmas is truly all about. St. Stephen reminds us all that Christmas is about celebrating the coming of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who brought into our midst the truth about the love of God for each one of us, and which truth is the reason why St. Stephen died courageously in defending that truth and Good News from those who tried to silence him and the Church.
Christmas is such a big feast in the Church that it cannot be limited to a single day. It may seem strange to celebrate St. Stephen on this second day of Christmas, especially as we hear the readings dealing with suffering and death which come to a follower and witness of Jesus. The spirit of the world is at odds with the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:17). Because of this, it is crucial for us to be absolutely certain we are following the Holy Spirit in our celebrations of the Christmas season.
Jesus tells us that if we want to live our faith fully, we should be prepared to face the possible consequences of division in our families and even betrayal and persecution. If we want to remain faithful to God throughout our lives, then we must daily prepare ourselves, physically, emotionally, spiritually and one of the most important ways to do this is to have a meaningful prayer life. Pray for the grace to remain faithful to Jesus, especially in times of temptations and trials.
Martyrs like Stephen empty themselves of their blood, just as Jesus emptied Himself. It is very difficult to be a true Christian today. The challenges are many and the risks are even more dangerous. What are the challenges we face? We seek to be good citizens, obedient to the State and to the laws of the country, there will be occasions when we need to speak out against laws and policies we deem to be short-sighted from the perspective of morality and justice. In seeking change and renewal, we will face opposition not just from without but from within. There will be misunderstandings, quarrels, and frictions due to the lack of humility, selflessness, and Christian charity. Most of all, persecution often comes from within our own families.
In all these trials, the Christian is asked to remain strong and firm. Likewise, we must empty ourselves of the world’s spirit so that we don’t blindly oppose the Holy Spirit. Why are martyrs for Christ lacking today? Why are witnesses for the gospel lacking? Is it due to a lack of courage? Indeed, it is because of the lack of faith and love for Christ that we fail to live up to the gospel values.
We live a double life and we feel hypocritical that we lack confidence to speak up for the Lord. What makes it more difficult to stand up for Jesus is that the world, whilst living in sin, ironically cannot tolerate others who sin. When a scandal is exposed, the world has no mercy. How then can we regain our faith? We are called to imitate St Stephen who was a man driven and motivated by the Holy Spirit. It was his life and his attitudes, that made him a great witness to Christ. We need to ask for the release and renewal of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We do this by receiving Holy Communion regularly, frequenting the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Sisters and Brothers, let us all therefore be inspired in the same way by the love of Our Lord and Saviour, which He has shown us from His Cross, and also by the courage of St. Stephen, holy martyr and most devout servant of God. Let us also remain strong and committed ourselves, in our faith, by living our lives with true love and sincere faith in God, by sharing our Christmas joy with one another, especially with those who are in need and are suffering.
Today, let each and every one of us, ask Jesus, through the intercession of his protomartyr, to give us the grace to “do this in memory” of him, imitating his teaching, his loving service, his life and death so that we might with many others come to share St. Stephen’s eternal joy in that place where the angels forever sing “Glory to God in the Highest!”
PRAY FOR THE CANONIZATION OF BLESSED MICHAEL TANSI, MICHAEL J. MCGIVNEY & NNADI MICHAEL
PRAY THE ROSARY & LITANY- THIS IS THE MOST POWERFUL SPIRITUAL WEAPON AGAINST EVIL FORCES.
Take a decision today for Total Consecration of yourself to Blessed Virgin Mary, grow your Spirituality?
- Lord Jesus, Your coming in the flesh to ransom us from slavery to sin gives us cause for great rejoicing even in the midst of trials and pain. Help me to patiently and joyfully accept the hardships, adversities, and persecution which come my way in serving You. Strengthen my faith and give me courage that I may not shrink back from doing Your will.
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