Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
St. Stephen was the first disciple of Jesus to be martyred, and today we observe his feast. It may seem strange that we embrace the martyrdom of St. Stephen and pray with today’s Gospel after Christmas, but we must remember why we have Christmas to begin with.
After we remove Christmas trees and sparkling lights what we have is the Messiah born during a time of rough living for the absolute poor and constant shunning of the marginalized. It is because Jesus was born that he died for us, and why St. Stephen gave his life so freely showing that Christ is our Savior.
Our world today continues to be riddled with conflict and hardships, not unlike the time of Jesus’ birth. Now that our preparations have led us towards a joyous new life in and with Christ, may we intentionally live out his mission by standing next to the very same people he came for and stood with.
—Damian Torres-Botello, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic currently studying philosophy at Loyola University Chicago.
Infant Jesus, show me new ways that I may grow in mindfulness of the poor and marginalized in my world, and give me the courage and perseverance to stand where you stood. Amen.Please share the Good Word with your friends!