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Following The Truth: The Feast Of St. Stephen A Case Of Bad Timing? (Catholic or Open)
FollowingtheTruth.com ^ | Dec 26th, 2011 | Gary Zimak

Posted on 12/27/2011 8:49:55 AM PST by Salvation

The Feast Of St. Stephen – A Case Of Bad Timing?

“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)

One day after the beautiful celebration of Christmas, the Church honors the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen.  Talk about bad timing!  Isn’t this supposed to be the season of joy and peace?  Is the Church calendar so crowded that we had to squeeze Stephen in this week?  Wouldn’t he be a better fit during the season of Lent?

In reality, the Church knows exactly what she’s doing and this celebration (and yes, it is a celebration) takes place at the perfect time.  We often  tend to focus on the pleasant aspects of our Catholic Faith and neglect the painful realities that are necessary for followers of Christ.  While most people know that the colors of the Christmas season are red and green, few know the meaning behind those colors.  Green is the color of life and represents the birth of the Savior and the eternal life promised to His followers.  Red, on the other hand, represents suffering and the blood which has been shed for the Faith.  If we compare our lives to a Christmas wreath, we see that the red and the green are intertwined.  If we truly wish to follow the Lord, we must be prepared to suffer in some capacity.

St. Stephen was a deacon in the early Church (Acts 6:1-6) and became to first Christian to be martyred for the Faith (Acts 7:54-60).  What was Stephen’s crime that resulted in his being stoned to death?  He told the people something that they didn’t want to hear!  After relating the story of God’s covenant and the stubbornness of the  Israelites (Acts 7: 1-50), he proceeded to tell his listeners that they were also at fault (Acts 7:51-53).  As a result, they cried out, covered their ears (great way of handling something you don’t want to hear, isn’t it?), and stoned him to death.  As he lay dying, St. Stephen forgave his attackers (Acts 8:60).

In the present age, there are many issues that can cause us to be “martyred”.  Defense of life, condemnation of contraception, loyalty to the Catholic Church and her teachings, refusal to gossip or use foul language, etc.  Any of these things can bring on an attack when proclaimed.  By remaining silent we can sometimes avoid the suffering and backlash that speaking out could send our way.  On the other hand, St. Stephen didn’t care about the consequences.  He accepted the “red” along with the “green”.  He spoke out even though it caused him to suffer and die.

How about you?

“And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the the angels of God, but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8-9)

 



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; christmas; saints

Gary Zimak is the founder of Following The Truth Ministries (http://www.followingthetruth.com), a lay apostolate created to assist Catholics in learning more about their Faith. He is a regular guest on EWTN Radio’s “Son Rise Morning Show”, Ave Maria Radio’s “Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo” and appears frequently on several other Catholic radio programs.  In addition to writing for CatholicLane. Mr. Zimak hosts a daily program on BlogTalkRadio and posts frequently on his blog, Facebook and Twitter.  He is a member of Catholics United For The Faith and the Knights of Columbus and resides in New Jersey.


1 posted on 12/27/2011 8:50:02 AM PST by Salvation
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To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...
Bad timing for St. Stephen?
 
Bad timing for the observer, Saul -- later to become St. Paul?
 
Or bad timing to be right after the celebration of the Solemnity of the Nativity?
 
And a last question:  Do we speak out like St. Stephen and risk being ostracized, thought foolish or even being killed, etc.???

Catholic Ping!

2 posted on 12/27/2011 8:53:49 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Nice homily this morning at Mass pointing out that between Christmas, St. Stephen, and St. John, we have the Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious mysteries packed into three days.


3 posted on 12/27/2011 9:01:33 AM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Salvation
And a last question: Do we speak out like St. Stephen and risk being ostracized, thought foolish or even being killed, etc.??? I know for a fact that there are quite a few Prots and fundies that wouild prefer me to shut up and or go away.

Not that I plan on doing either anytime soon

4 posted on 12/27/2011 9:03:01 AM PST by verga (We get what we tolerate and increase that which we reward)
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To: verga

I know I have also been called foolish, silly, etc. by some of them.


5 posted on 12/27/2011 9:23:19 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Hieronymus

I had never thought about these days in that way.

Joyful — Nativity
Glorious — St. John or St. Stephen
Sorrowful — Holy Innocents

How did the priest coorelate these days with the feasts?


6 posted on 12/27/2011 9:25:57 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation
"Do we speak out like St. Stephen and risk being ostracized, thought foolish or even being killed, etc.???"

Yes, although I do not seek martyrdom - it's coming unsought for by many of my coreligionists.

Etiam non princeps sed usque ad genua, Principis Pacis!
7 posted on 12/27/2011 9:48:42 AM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3/5 Marines RVN 1969 - St. Michael the Archangel defend us in Battle!)
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To: Salvation

I hadn’t either. It was a good homily.

Christmas and the Joyful need no explanation.

St. Stephen—Proto-Martyr Taking up one’s Cross//Dying with Christ (could have tied in the meaning of the name, which means crown, as well)

St. John—First Apostle to the Tomb, Present at the Ascension and Pentecost, Chaplain to Our Lady, author of Revelation.


8 posted on 12/27/2011 10:20:08 AM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Hieronymus

Well we got also a fourth group of mysteries, the Mysteries of Light, where would you fit those in?


9 posted on 12/27/2011 11:27:15 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: ConorMacNessa

....And in a special way, in the near east or middle east, and in recent days, countries in Africa, such as Nigeria.


10 posted on 12/27/2011 11:29:38 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Biggirl

The original three sets of mysteries have been around about 800 years, and the dates of these feasts on the calendar even longer. The Luminous mysteries, in Church time, have been around about 15 minutes. They don’t fit in the liturgical pattern—and that’s ok, though they certainly add something of value. Incarnation-Passion-Eternity captures all that is most essential, and what served for 800 years is still worth reflecting on from time to time.


11 posted on 12/27/2011 12:43:45 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Salvation

I think we have little choice except to speak out.


12 posted on 12/27/2011 1:46:04 PM PST by Rich21IE
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To: Hieronymus

But at least 3 of the 5 mysteries in the Luminous, Baptism of the Lord, Transfiguration, and the Last Supper do have feasts, the first two by the same names, and the last one, Holy Thursday.

Even the other 2, the first miracle at Cana, is often spoken in regards to the 3 mafestations of Jesus, the first two when the Magi came to visit the infant Christ, his baptism in Jordan, the first miracle at Cana. Also call Ephanny.

The last mystery, the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, for the seasons of Advent and Lent, the two times of the year when we are call to conversion bigtime.

Plus the Luminous mysteries came out about 20 years, though a thin pizza slice in the history of the Church, but still an important part in time. Those mysteries honor the other three.


13 posted on 12/27/2011 1:48:47 PM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Salvation

All GOD knows and plans out. HIS timing is perfect on both accounts.

 Also Stephen was a believer and knew about heaven; our real home. After he had faith, he was ready whenever ( as all believers should be)

We must all confess HE is LORD through our mouths and actions in the environments HE puts us in. 
 When talking to people about GOD, we must bare in mind that we were once like the people we are confessing openly towards. We confess and live our confession. Living what we confess shows the power that faith in HIM gives us and changes us to be living guiding examples that point to HIM. 

When we were always ignorantly sinning we rejected and ridiculed christ. Even now when we know we sin we knowingly do the same. Though the flesh will sin, it’s possible through constant prayer and fasting to keep it in the mind. This way it doesn’t effect others. This is the best we can do. This is what faith should make us do.

Jesus says we will see offense:

LUKE 10:16
16 ‘Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me.’

BUT!!

Rejected or not we must love all people. As Jesus says:

Luke 10:26-27

26 He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?’
27 He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’

MATTHEW 5:43-48
43 ‘You have heard how it was said, You will love your neighbour and hate your enemy.
44 But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you;
45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on the bad as well as the good, and sends down rain to fall on the upright and the wicked alike.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even the tax collectors do as much?
47 And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional?
48 Do not even the gentiles do as much? You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

Praise Jesus!!

Jesus4life


14 posted on 12/27/2011 11:31:04 PM PST by jesus4life
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To: jesus4life

That was sent to all not just Salvation. Forgot to put ALL there. :(

Praise Jesus

Jesus4life


15 posted on 12/27/2011 11:35:59 PM PST by jesus4life
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To: Biggirl

All your points are good, but I wouldn’t advocate moving any of the relative feasts to early in the Christmas octave—the point of the homily was that far from being out of place, the feast days of the 26th and the 27th complement the 25th by together providing a succinct glimpse at the essential aspects of the economy of salvation.


16 posted on 12/28/2011 6:40:10 AM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Hieronymus

Like your tagline. LOL!


17 posted on 12/28/2011 11:17:09 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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18 posted on 12/28/2011 11:18:21 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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