May the New Born Child Jesus give you grace, peace and health in the Holy Spirit. It is on 26th December 2022. We reflect Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59, and Matthew 10:17-22.
Even though our hearts are around the manger, we remember a saint who shed his blood for Christ. We celebrate the feast of Deacon St Stephen, the first Christian martyr of the Church.
The pinnacle of joy in Christianity is to be a martyr for Christ. Martyrdom alone overcomes violence by love and death by life. The Church sees in the sacrifice of the martyrs their “birth into heaven”. His Holiness Pope Francis beautifully puts it, “Today we celebrate the “birth” of Stephen, which in its depth springs from the Birth of Christ. Jesus transforms the death of those who love him into a dawn of new life!”
St. Stephen “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit” (Acts. 6:5), was chosen with six others for the service of widows and the poor in the first Community of Jerusalem. He was dragged outside the city walls and stoned. Stephen dies like Jesus, asking pardon for those who killed him (Acts. 7:55-60). In St Stephen, we see materializing the first fruits of salvation that the Nativity of Christ brought to humanity: the victory of life over death, love over hate, and the light of truth over the darkness of falsehood.
The birth of Jesus did not bring happiness to those who did not believe in the light, life, and love. “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved” (Mt 10:22).
The stance we take between good and evil, hatred and forgiveness, meekness and violence will make us a saint or a sinner.
The feast of Stephen dispels all colour-coated Christianity namely fairy tales, superfluous piety, and decoration,
The authentic meaning of the Incarnation is to enter the narrow door of life where we experience the light of Christ in the battle against sin.
Let us not forget to whisper a prayer for the modern-day Stephens, who are discriminated against, persecuted, unjustly accused, and facing violence and humiliation on account of Christ, the New Born Saviour, and the Gospel.