ST. STEPHEN PROTO-MARTYR

FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD ST. STEPHEN FIRST MARTYR December 26, 2019 WORD of the DAY Now 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. Then they instigated some men to say, “We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, accosted him, seized him, and brought him before the Sanhedrin. (Acts 6: 8-12) How shall I live this Word? Today on December 26, we celebrate the first Christian martyr, a word which literally means ‘witness’. He was one of the seven deacons instituted by the apostles for the service of the Word and of the table for the faithful. The first reading gives an account of his martyrdom. He defends himself before the Sanhedrin, proclaiming that he sees the heavens open and the glory of the Son of Man. This episode highlights attitudes that recall the death of Jesus. Stephen forgives...