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Monday, December 26, 2016

Bishop Barron's Daily Gospel Reflection: Feast of St. Stephen

Your daily Advent reflection...
Monday, December 26, 2016
Feast of Saint Stephen, Year I
Matthew 10:17-22
Friends, today we celebrate the martyrdom of St. Stephen. The Gospel tells us to expect persecution. Martyrs like Stephen are witnesses who have given their lives for the faith, participating in the bloody death of Jesus himself. They are part of the great chorus that gives praise to Christ in heaven. The Lamb has become their shepherd leading them to springs of life giving water. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

This is an eschatological hope, one held out for us in God’s definitive future. But a terrible price was paid, and a terrible war was waged. Their robes are washed clean, but in the blood of the Lamb. Please notice the presence of martyrdom up and down the ages, to the present day. The twentieth was the Christian century with the most martyrs ever, in fact more than all the other centuries combined. The most persecuted religion on planet earth today is Christianity.

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