The martyrdom of St. Stephen is a sober reminder that in light of the joy of the Lord’s birth we also confront the daily reality of death in our world. May St. Stephen inspire us to never take for granted an opportunity to live each day with faith, hope and love.
Stephen is the first disciple to be martyred: to die for his faith in Jesus Christ. His example reminds us that we will all make an offering of our lives – in great and small ways – as we put our faith into practice.
Stephen is the first person to give his life as a witness to his faith in Jesus Christ. He spoke with a wisdom and spirit that none could refute, and he offers us an example about how we show our love for the Lord every day.
St. Stephen’s death serves as a sharp contrast from the glory Christ’s birth. Yet this contrast helps us engage in the spiritual battle that is part of our earthly life as we face our struggles with the grace of Jesus.
With the joy of Christ’s birth ringing in the air we celebrate today the death of St. Stephen, the first martyr. Why? To help us see the connection between the Christ’s birth and saving death as we offer our lives for the Lord. Thus, the Christmas spirit gives us hope to face the sacrifices of this life with the conviction that the Jesus Christ will guide and lead us to Heaven.
“I am the Bread of Life” are the words the Lord speaks to the crowd. This time of year, when 1st Communions are common, may we receive the Lord in the Eucharist with the living bread that feeds our souls.