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Wednesday, December 26, 2001

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St. Stephen

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

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worth persecuting

"Stephen, meanwhile, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked to the sky above and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at God's right hand." —Acts 7:55

When Jesus was born, He made it possible for us to touch, kiss, feel, and hold Him. We could have a deep, personal relationship with Him. Even after Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, we can still have a close, personal relationship with Him, especially through receiving His body in Holy Communion. That's why the highlight of Christ-mas is the Mass. When we receive Jesus' body and blood into our body, we can be very close to Jesus, as Mary was when she carried Jesus in her body.

When we get this close and deep with Jesus, we see life in a new way. Evangelization becomes the reason for our existence. We don't see how we cannot give all we have for the building of God's kingdom. Accepting God's call to the religious life, having a large family, forgiving our enemies, and witnessing for Jesus on the job seems the least we can do, after what the Lord has done and continues to do for us.

A deep Christmas results in big decisions for God's kingdom. We then become a threat to the devil and merit persecution. That's why Stephen, the first martyr, is the first saint of the Christmas season.

Prayer:  Father, may I be worth persecuting.

Promise:  "When they hand you over, do not worry about what you will say or how you will say it. When the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say. You yourselves will not be the speakers; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you." —Mt 10:19-20

Praise:  St. Stephen died as did his Master, forgiving his murderers.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, May 30, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 4, 2001