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Friday, December 26, 1997

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St. Stephen

Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Psalm 31
Matthew 10:17-22

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running from love?

"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." —Acts 7:59

On this second day of Christmas, we have ample proof that Christmas has become too commercialized. Many of us have received all kinds of stuff as presents. We may also feel stuffed from over-indulging in food, drink, TV, shopping, working, etc. We may be smothered in debt. Why do so many feel compelled to go so far overboard at Christmas?

There are many answers to this question, but one answer may be that we absorb ourselves with material things at Christmas because we're afraid of finding the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas means God has become a human being and was born so that we could have a deep, personal relationship with Him. A deep love for the Crucified One results in being persecuted with and for Him. The result of Christmas is to live and die like St. Stephen — martyred or at least suffering redemptively for the Christ of Christmas. Naturally, we shy away and run from true love, love that hurts so much it becomes a sharing in Calvary.

Let us put aside our distractions and allow ourselves to fearfully fall into the hands of the living God, Who is Love Himself (Heb 10:31).

Prayer:  Father, I decide to take down the wall of possessions and activities which I have put between me and Your love.

Promise:  "You will be hated by all on account of Me. But whoever holds out till the end will escape death." —Mt 10:22

Praise:  Stephen imitated the crucified Jesus as he was being stoned, twice speaking words similar to those that Jesus spoke from the cross.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, June 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 9, 1997