HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN. THE FIRST CHRISTIAN MARTYR
HOMILY THEME: DIFFICULTIES IN WITNESSING YOUR FAITH
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
In the day’s Gospel, the day after Christmas, we are immediately reminded of the life and mission of our Savior Jesus Christ. The Church aptly placed the feast of Saint Stephen, martyr, on this day to show the difficulties Jesus and every Christian will face in witnessing to the faith. We are also reminded of what John said in yesterday’s Gospel that the Messiah was ejected by His own people.
While we are promised salvation and eternal life if we follow the Lord, we were not told that it will be without trials and tribulations. The child who was born in Bethlehem will grow and suffer and die in obedience to the Father. Faithful Christians also had the same fate in varying degrees in different times. The Master has shown His servants the road less travelled but leads to their true destiny.
The days after Christmas, called the Octave, leading to two more Christmas feasts (Epiphany and Baptism of the Lord), include at least two more martyrs (Thomas More and the Holy Innocents). The Church is not being KJ (kill joy) but just being affront and true to her role as guide and leader of the faith. The Christmas rush can really drown us in merrymaking to a point when we will neglect the fact that it is but part of God’s plan of salvation which will culminate in the resurrection.
More and more, our faith is trying to instill in us the true essence of this mystery of God’s Incarnation in Jesus Christ. He did not became like us just for us to have something to remember and celebrate in December. God’s Word was made flesh to save us. We have to seriously reflect on this truth. Hopefully we will be able to appreciate what God had done. And hopefully it is enough for us to take our faith seriously, martyrdom or no martyrdom.