Tuesday, December 26, 2006

On the Feast of Stephen

I sat here much of today trying to think of something pithy to say on the Feast of St. Stephen. After all, we celebrate Stephen as protomartyr and protodeacon, and since I am a deacon, this is an important feast day for me. But I struggled with what to say, nothing seemed to be there. Then the juxtaposition of this day, the Feast of St. Stephen, and Christmas day, struck me. It is indeed interesting that the feast of St. Stephen follow the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Jesus is the absolute model of servant, the example we all learn from. Stephen is an example of one who learned. Stephen was a servant, but a servant leader, one who led through the example of his service, the example he learned from Christ. Stephen spoke about Jesus to all who would listen, without hesitation or fear. Even when his zealousness for Christ led to his death, Stephen continued to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Indeed, he even followed the example of his Master to the last, forgiving those who stoned him. As a deacon, I look to that example, that courage, that fearless proclamation of Jesus, and pray that I can live up to it. As a deacon, particularly, I feel the urgency of that call, and the need to follow that example. All of us are called to follow that example. We find it difficult, though few of us will ever face the dire consequences faced by Stephen. May Stephen's example be a model to us all. St. Stephen, Protodeacon and Protomartyr, pray for us.
Deacon John
Feast of St. Stephen
Dec. 26, 2006