December 26 - Feast of St. Stephen

St. Stephen reminds us: 1. In his lengthy speech in Acts 7 the point is made that worship, even the glorious worship of God by Israel, is now to be made through the person of Jesus. There is much amiss in the worship offered to the Father from which His Son is rejected: all goals of worship are achieved with the Son at its center. 2. Acts indicates that the function of every disciple about which it speaks is ’witness’: You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judaea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth’. Stephen was the asked to give the most extreme form of witness on behalf of Jesus, a witness to the death. 3. Stephen in Acts is appointed to serve the needs of the needy. As such he is among the first ’deacons’ of the Church. His witness includes the Church’s stubborn refusal to abandon the dependent and helpless. St. Stephen, help us to learn from you! John Kilgallen, S.J.

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