St Stephen’s Tomb, Vienna
Reading: You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead and guide me. Free me from the net they have set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, LORD, faithful God. (Psalm 31:4-6)
Observation: If you look back on the 24th of December, I journaled on the horn of salvation and the picture that I found to post was taken from later in the 2nd book of Samuel and it related the message of this Psalm again. I think this Psalm was chosen for the church today to join the words from the first reading and the Gospel today because of the way the words that Jesus spoke as he surrendered his spirit on the cross were from the 6th verse, “Into your hands I commend my spirit”, and the Apostle Stephen, who we celebrate his feast day today on the day after Christmas, uttered similar words but directed them specifically to our Lord. He said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Personally, I can think of no better way for us to honor the first Apostle that followed in the footsteps of Jesus and was received into the heavenly kingdom, than to celebrate his feast day on the day after the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Personification: Faith/Fidelity The faith that Stephen has to be able to look into the face of death and ask the Lord to receive his spirit. I want to be able to surrender the way that Jesus did and Stephen. I would imagine that both of them knew that they could have chosen an easier path to spread the good news, but they both surrendered their will completely to the will of the Father. Since Jesus was God, I imagine the surrender to his will was a little easier than Stephen’s, but it doesn’t say that Stephen hesitated and doubted whether or not he should enter the debate with these officials from the Jewish church. I want to be more like Stephen and show the fruit of faith and fidelity in the face of what ever adversity may befall me.
Prayer: St Stephen, pray for me to be filled with the faith and fidelity to walk in the light of truth like you did when questioned by the authority in the church. Please ask God to send down the Holy Spirit to walk with me in the face of whatever adversity that may befall me. I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.