Friday, December 25, 2009
FEAST, STEPHEN, THE FIRST MARTYR
FEAST, STEPHEN, THE 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."
What does it mean to say, "Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my
spirit"? These are the last words of Jesus on the cross. And these are
the same as the final words of Stephen in the first reading, whose
feast we celebrate today: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Jesus describes this kind of trust in today's Gospel when he says, "Do
not worry" … about how we will handle any difficulty, any persecution,
any challenges in our life. God holds us in the palm of His hand,
tenderly, lovingly and protectively. Even if we die for standing firm
in our faith, as Stephen did, we are protected, because no one can
take from us what belongs to God. Our hearts, our minds and our souls
belong to Him. These are held tightly in God's hands for all eternity.
What are we in the process of commending to the Father? Do we need to
give up any anger or disappointments that were triggered on Christmas?
Do we need to give up any fears about the future? Do we need to give
up plans that are not working out? Do we need to give up any illusions
of not being dependent upon God for everything? For every let ting go,
tell the Lord, "Into your hands, I commend my spirit" or "... I
entrust this matter to you." In such humility, peace grows. Peace
grows because we realize that God holds us in the palm of His hand,
for all eternity.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
… for the strength and healing of:
- Francis Torres
- Mon Torres
… for healing and peace: Metodio Alapide
… for the safety of the residents of Albay, threatened by the eruption
of Mayon volcano
… for the victims of natural disasters
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Lilia B. Yang
- Birthday: Celso F. Bate
- Birthday: Dionisio R. Opelanio
- Birthday: Mavi Reyes
… for the healing and peace of all families
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!
Parish Priests' e-mail:
Fr. J. Cesar R. Marin, S. J. firstname.lastname@example.org
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