Pondering for Monday, December 26, 2022

This is the Second Day of Christmas, and it is St Stephen’s Day

Eucharistic Readings for St. Stephens

Jeremiah 26:1-9,12-15  Psalm 31; Acts 6:8-7:2a,51c-60;  Matthew 23:34-39

“Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died.” (Acts 7:60)

As a priest, and a servant of our Lord Jesus, I am not in total agreement with how our first deacons were formed.  As I understand it, deacons were formed in order to excuse priests, or the apostles as they were known, from the responsibility of feeding those who were hungry, (Acts 6), but which is what Jesus did at every opportunity he found. In fact he said to the apostles, “You feed them.”  (Matthew 14:16)  However, more than that, and in keeping with today’s focus, Deacon Stephen’s devotion to God through Jesus is most remarkable.

Stephen knows his faith history and relates it to those who falsely judge him.  He has every right to be angry about how they are treating him, however, he lets love prevail. Psalm 31:13 – 16 may hold comforting words for Stephen and for any who are held in contempt.  For it reads:

13: For I have heard the whispering of the crowd; fear is all around; they put their heads together against me; they plot to take my life.

14: But as for me, I have trusted in you, O Lord. I have said, “You are my God.

15: My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.

16: Make your face to shine upon your servant, and in your loving-kindness save me.”   (Psalm 31:13 -16)

I believe Stephen was saved, not from mortal death, but from eternal death. And as he goes, he shares with us a very important lesson. Our being saved has as much to do with the birth of Jesus as it does for his Resurrection from the dead.

For, had he not been born, he could not have died.  Merry Christmas: Day 2

We need to stop fighting and start loving because that’s who we are really made to be. Merry Christmas: Day 1

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine, Iran and China.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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