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-translation
It may seem particularly jarring to move from the rather peaceful Christmas crib scene of yesterday to the vivid stoning-to-death of Stephen described in today’s passage from Acts of the Apostles. Yet this is why Jesus was born—to hand over his very life to the Father that we might be saved. The Christian deacon Stephen similarly gave his life as somehow part of God’s plan—not that God triggered the event, but rather that God was using whatever happened to bring about something good.
Our world has abundant examples of good coming from situations of great suffering and tragedy. Maybe when I’m giving my very best and still meet challenges and difficulties, God will find a way to bring some positive result out of the very struggles that I face and endure. The lives of so many Saints and holy ones remind us of this reality.
Today, in the spirit of Christmas giving, how can I hand over my time and talents—even my very life—to the Lord, as I walk in the footsteps of Stephen and of Jesus, my Lord and Savior?
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
I am all at once what Christ is, since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond
Is immortal diamond.
—Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!