St. Stephen, Martyr

 

The days immediately following Christmas vividly remind us of the cost of our salvation as well as the cost of following our Savior.  In Jesus birth, God tore open the heavens and came down.  Angels burst through the barrier becoming the first evangelists of the Good News of Jesus.  In the death of Stephen, God tore open the heavens showing him the risen and ascended Lord standing at the right hand of God.

In his last words, Stephen emulates the words of Jesus and gives us the way to face our enemies and our death, the last enemy.  “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” he asks Christ.  As he was being knocked to his knees by the onslaught of stones against his body, he cried out, “Lord do not hold this sin against them.”

Luke introduces a young man, Saul, holding the clothes of the stone throwers.  Years later, on the road to Damascus, the ascended and reigning Lord knocked him to the ground and blinded him, so that he might finally see the good news Stephen had proclaimed.  We know him as Paul, who proclaimed Jesus throughout the Mediterranean world.

 

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