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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

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St. Stephen

Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17
Matthew 10:17-22

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the relationship

"I see an opening in the sky, and the Son of Man standing at God's right hand." —Acts 7:56

When a baby is born, he can be held, seen, heard, touched, and kissed. We celebrate a birth because after a baby is born we can enter into a new dimension of personal relationship with that baby. We likewise celebrate the birth of Jesus because His birth made it possible for Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, and us to become very close to Him.

Although we did not live at the time when we could see, touch, and hear Jesus physically, we can still be very close to Jesus. In fact, we can be closer than close to Jesus. By the power of the Spirit, we can be in Jesus and He in us (see Jn 17:23). We can even touch the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Jesus in Holy Communion. We can receive Jesus and become one with Him (Jn 6:56). We can have a personal relationship with Jesus that is so deep that it will transform us and the whole world.

This relationship with Jesus is so powerful that those who live in His love are seen either as the best thing that has ever happened to the world or a threat to the culture of death (see 2 Cor 2:15-16). Thus, Christians are embraced as messengers of life, hope, and light, or they are attacked, persecuted, and sometimes killed (see Acts 7:57ff; Mt 10:17ff).

Love Jesus, the God-Man, and live the relationship that rocks the world.

Prayer:  "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit" (Acts 7:59).

Promise:  "Whoever holds out till the end will escape death." —Mt 10:22

Praise:  St. Stephen accepted the grace to forgive his murderers and see Jesus in heaven before his earthly life ended.

Reference:  (For a related teaching on Developing a Deep Personal Relationship with Jesus, order, listen to, or download our CD 52-1 or DVD 52-CH. 1 at presentationministries.com or order our tape on audio AV 52-1 or video V-52.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 3, 2017

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