Tuesday, December 25, 2007
FEAST, ST. STEPHEN, FIRST MARTYR
FEAST, ST. STEPHEN, FIRST MARTYR
ACTS 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and
signs among the people. Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of
Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and
Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not
withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke. When they
heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and
saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and
he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing
at the right hand of God." But they cried out in a loud voice, covered
their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the
city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at
the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he
called out "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Jesus said to his disciples: "Beware of men, for they will hand you
over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be
led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them
and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you
are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment
what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit
of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to
death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents
and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my
name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved."
Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen, the first follower of
Christ to give up his life for his faith. That persecution should
have risen so soon in the Church's history is not surprising. At
least if we're willing to accept Jesus' teachings in the Gospel.
Christ surely does not wish us to purposely seek persecution. But he
does want us to live by his values. And if we are faithful to his
values, persecution will seek us. Christ's values are
counter-cultural. Anyone who lives fully by Christ's values will be
at best challenged and ridiculed, at worst persecuted. Perhaps we
will never be asked to appear before civil or ecclesiastical
magistrates. However, rejection, ridicule and verbal abuse are as
offensive to us as is physical punishment.
Stephen's martyrdom reminds us that Jesus' birth and dying on the
cross cannot be separated from the other. Stephen died like his
Master, and like him we are invited to the perfect imitation of
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
... for the strength, healing and speedy recovery of:
- Damaso Guevara and Eligia Fernando
- Herminia Guiden
- Tito Reyes
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Celso F. Bate
- Birthday: Dionisio R. Opelanio
- Birthday: Lilia B. Yang
- Thanksgiving:Aurea Sorisantos
- Wedding Anniversary: Mark & Michelle Sison
... for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers
and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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