Monday, December 26, 2022

† ". do not worry about . "


†Saint Quote
Quote of the Day
"In a world gone astray from God there is no peace, but it also lacks charity, which is true and perfect love... Nothing is more beautiful than love. Indeed, faith and hope will end when we die, whereas love, that is, charity, will last for eternity."
–Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

†Today's Meditation
"We might say the whole mystery of our redemption in Christ, by his incarnation, his death and his resurrection, consists of this marvelous exchange: in the heart of Christ, God has loved us humanly, so as to render our human hearts capable of loving divinely. God became man so that man might become God—might love as only God is capable of loving, with the purity, intensity, power, tenderness, and inexhaustible patience that belong to the divine love. It is an extraordinary source of hope and a great consolation to know that, by virtue of God's grace working in us (if we remain open to it by persevering in faith, prayer, and the sacraments), the Holy Spirit will transform and expand our hearts to the point of one day making them capable of loving as God loves."
—Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 67-68
An Excerpt From
Interior Freedom

†Daily Verse
"But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name."
–1 Peter 4:16


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St. Stephen

St. Stephen (1st. c.) was one of the Church's first deacons in Jerusalem and an eloquent preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. According to Sacred Scripture he was "a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost" and "full of grace and fortitude." The account of his martyrdom is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. After boldly preaching against the Jewish leaders for their rejection of the promised Messiah, he was accused of blasphemy and stoned to death by an angry mob. The man who would later become St. Paul the Apostle, while he was persecuting the Church before his conversion, was among the mob as an approving witness. St. Stephen's name comes from the Greek word meaning 'crown,' fitting as he was the first Christian to earn the martyr's crown. St. Stephen's feast day is celebrated on December 26th.


Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr

Reading 1 ACTS 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Stephen, filled with grace and power,
was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen,
Cyrenians, and Alexandrians,
and people from Cilicia and Asia,
came forward and debated with Stephen,
but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.
When they heard this, they were infuriated,
and they ground their teeth at him.
But he, filled with the Holy Spirit,
looked up intently to heaven
and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and he said,
"Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God."
But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears,
and rushed upon him together.
They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him.
The witnesses laid down their cloaks
at the feet of a young man named Saul.

As they were stoning Stephen, he called out
"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

Responsorial Psalm PS 31:3CD-4, 6 AND 8AB, 16BC AND 17

R. (6) Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress;
for your name's sake you will lead and guide me.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
Rescue me from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
R. Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.

Alleluia PS 118:26A, 27A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD:
the LORD is God and has given us light.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel MT 10:17-22

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.
Brother will hand over brother to death,
and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved."


Daily Meditation: Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59

I see the heavens opened. (Acts 7:56)

It sure doesn't take long, does it? We just celebrated the birth of Jesus yesterday, and today we read about the brutal death of St. Stephen, the first martyr. The Church hardly waits a day to show us what can happen when we follow Jesus.

But are betrayal, injustice, and violence all that the Church is showing us today? If you take a close look at the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, you will see so much more than the story of a violent death. You'll see that God filled Stephen with grace and power so that he was able to work "great wonders and signs among the people" (Acts 6:8). You'll see that God gave him "wisdom and the spirit" to proclaim the gospel effectively (6:10). And you'll see that when Stephen was surrounded by men who wanted to kill him, God opened the heavens to show him Jesus, the risen Lord, and the glory that awaited him (7:55)!

That's what we need to see today when we look at St. Stephen. He was filled with God's life and grace by the coming of Christ. And filled with that grace, he found the courage to face martyrdom with joy.

We might not face the ultimate test of our faith, but the same Christ who filled Stephen with grace has come into our lives. He has come to lift us up, convince us of his power, and transform us. Like Stephen, each of us can become servants and evangelists, vessels for God's work among his people. Even when challenges come at us in life, we can face them with the same bravery and joy that Stephen did.

You might still be basking in the glow of yesterday's celebration of Christmas. But don't stop at the manger. Today, as you read about St. Stephen and see God's remarkable grace at work in his life, contemplate the awesome ways your own life can be transformed. That's what can happen when you follow Jesus!

"Jesus, you came to bring the fullness of life. Help me to walk in that life today."

Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17
Matthew 10:17-22

be hated

From today's 1st Holy Scripture:
" As they were stoning Stephen, he called out
"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

They stoned Stephen to death. Merry Christmas! Right? All this week we celebrate Christmas. We call this week the Octave of Christmas, eight days of feasting. And today's feast began with St. Stephen the Martyr. Why was he stoned to death? To be blunt and simple, it was because they just couldn't stand him, he was beating them all, he had answers...and they were answers they didn't want to hear, just like when our Lord spoke. And in the same tone and spirit, St. Stephen gives his life to God whom He saw at the moment of his martyrdom. And so, Merry Christmas! Why do I keep saying that? Because, in the Mass of Christ, or Christ-Mass, we remember Christ offering His life to God the Father for all of us. We should indeed be happy but struck solemnly to the core of our very being. If I live, then it is for Christ. It is still the right time to give to Christ.


We pray today;
"Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
I will rejoice and be glad because of your mercy.
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."


In the Gospel today we heard:
"For it will not be you who speak
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death"

Isn't it amazing that God speaks through people? And it often happens at times and saying things we don't really want to hear. Often things about sacrifice and obedience.
And so, this inspires hatred, the very sword our Lord said He came to bring, not on His part, but it just happens naturally.

And so the old atheist question spawns "if God were good then why do bad things happen". This my friend, is evidence of an extremely good God. How so?
That's the answer and probably an answer an atheist wouldn't want to hear. Grace through suffering. Now it is getting worse, right? Not really the answer we want to hear, right? We want to hear of no suffering (Heaven). We want to hear of no death (Heaven), but we don't want to hear of what it takes to obtain this Heavenly perfection. We want to be millionaires without raising a finger. We want St. Stephen's crown without the blood spilled.

Have you ever been stoned like the first Apostles? Have you ever been kicked out of church? Closest I've experienced that is having keys taken away from the church and been spoken about falsely. These things would cause a normal Joe Schmoe to leave the church, but not this spud. What's the difference? What keeps me going?

"...whoever endures to the end will be saved" says our Lord.
The only reason I write to you is to encourage you to persevere.
If you persevere with the saints, you will too achieve a crown. There's a white crown, and there is a red crown. The red crown is a shortcut to Heaven, martyrdom. The white crown is the long way to Heaven, white martyrdom, a striving to achieve purity every single day, and this means a purification with the very blood of the Lamb.
What a gift, either way to our God who has loved us to the extreme!

Lord, I may be small potatoes, but Lord, this Spud's for you!



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Random Bible Verse 1
1 Corinthians 3:19–20

[1 Corinthians 3]

19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," 20 and again, "The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile."


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