Daily Reflection for Thursday, December 26, 2019
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
Feast of St. Stephen, first martyr
Today we offer you a guest reflection by parishioner, Ellen Sanders.
We encourage you to reflect on Thursday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59
Responsorial: Psalm 31: 3-4, 6, 8, 16-17
Gospel: Matthew 10:17-22
Our reflection on Thursday’s readings:
“Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” Acts 7:56
As Catholic Christians we are just beginning our celebration of the Christmas season that will last until the Baptism of the Lord on January 12th. In our culture, some people stretch Christmas until New Years, but many people consider Christmas over and done with today.
So why do we celebrate St. Stephen on the day after we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ? Why does the church want us to remember the apostle who was the first martyr, the first person to be put to death for his faith?
As I read St. Stephen’s story in our first reading from Acts, I kept coming back to his response to his persecutors: Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. My first thought was, Wow! Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a vision like that? And then God took me deeper into those words, and I realized I do get to have that vision every time I attend Mass – each time the priest calls down the Holy Spirit to transform the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, I also get to see Jesus Christ.
So maybe while we are still in the glow after celebrating the infant birth of our Lord yesterday, we are asked to look ahead to His death and resurrection that will give us eternal life.
How can we be like St. Stephen today and share our joy in Jesus’ birth and his resurrection? What can we do so, like St. Stephen, we will be able to pray, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit?