Jesus said to his disciples:
“Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts
and scourge you in their synagogues,
and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake
as a witness before them and the pagans.
When they hand you over,
do not worry about how you are to speak
or what you are to say.
You will be given at that moment what you are to say.
For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Mt 10:17-20)
Today, the day after Christmas, is the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr in the Church. It seems rather strange to have the feast of a martyr immediately follow Christmas, which is a feast of peace and love and joy. This year, because the 28th falls on a Sunday, we miss the feast of the Holy Innocents as well.
These brutal remembrances speak volumes to us. They remind us, if nothing else, that life goes on and that, if we are going to be faithful to God, we could end up being sighted in the cross-hairs of the enemy.
Stephen did not care what the crowd did to him. He was a firm believer and, when he saw the Lord, wanted to let others know that the Lord was present in their midst and waiting to be embraced by any who would come to Him.
Jesus knew that remaining faithful to Him could cause considerable problems for people. However, Jesus also indicated that His Father would help any of us who wanted to remain faithful.
The world can throw anything it wants at us and we will be protected by God in the long run.
Be faithful to God this day.
FAITH ACTION: Pray for all those who suffer for the sake of the gospel, that they may have the strength to endure whatever comes their way in the name of the Lord.