It may seem a bit awkward that immediately after the great solemnity of Christmas Day, we turn to Stephen, the first deacon and martyr (Acts 6). Yet, it is very fitting! The martyrdom of Stephen is a reminder that what we celebrate at Christmas is more than just a fairytale headlined by hallmark. It is an event in which all time is based – the event of God becoming a child and our daringness to die for such love. Is love more than an emotion for us? Do we dare use it to stand for what is truth?
Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe, bishop, says it best in the Office of Readings: “And so the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven; shown first in the king, it later shone forth in his soldier. Love was Stephen’s weapon by which he gained every battle, and so won the crown signified by his name.”
Happy Feast Day to Saint Stephen Parish in San Francisco!