Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The Feast of St Stephen, the first Martyr.


"Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6: 8).

Thursday 26 December 2019 is the feast of Saint Stephen, the first Martyr. "St Stephen was one of the seven deacons who helped the apostles (Acts 6: 1 - 6) and was filled with faith and the Holy Spirit," and was "full of fortitude" (Acts 6: 5, 8). Stephen died praying for his executioners. The similarities between Stephen's martyrdom and the crucifixion of Our Lord emphasize his imitation of Christ even up to the complete gift of self." (Roman Missal).

We learn from the brief summary of the life of St Stephen from the Roman Missal that Stephen must have been a very important witness in the early Church. Consider why:

#1 Stephen's life and experience shows that the promises of Jesus are true. "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." (Matthew 10: 19).

#2 Stephen died like Jesus forgiving his executioners.

This vindication of the promises of Jesus and fearless embrace of martyrdom made a deep impression on the Church. The Church included the name of St Stephen in the Canon of the Mass to intercede for the Church.

"As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." (Acts 7: 58).
The prayer and blood of martyrs are very powerful. God works through prayers. Especially of saints.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

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