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Monday, December 26, 2011

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St. Stephen

Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Psalm 31:3-4, 6, 8, 16-17
Matthew 10:17-22

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"in the beginning was the word" (jn 1:1)

"When they hand you over, do not worry about what you will say or how you will say it. When the hour comes, you will be given what you are to say." —Matthew 10:19

Christmas is a celebration of God's Word. On the first day of Christmas, the Church proclaims twelve readings at the various liturgies of the Christmas Masses. On the second day of Christmas we remember St. Stephen, who preached God's Word so powerfully he became the first martyr, and whose diaconate freed the apostles to concentrate on prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4). Tomorrow, on the third day of Christmas, we celebrate the feast of St. John, writer of the fourth Gospel. In clear and practical ways, the Church celebrates God's Word each day of the Christmas season.

One of God's Christmas presents to us is new power in ministering His Word. If we will go forth as Jesus' witnesses, stand up, and acknowledge Him publicly, God will stir up the Holy Spirit Who will speak in us (Mt 10:20). Our opponents will prove no match for the Spirit's wisdom expressed in our words (Acts 6:10). Our words will have such power as to sting the hearts of our opponents (Acts 7:54). Only by holding their hands over their ears will unbelievers be able to resist the gospel of Jesus (Acts 7:57).

After this Christmas, there'll be "no chaining the word of God" in you (2 Tm 2:9). Open your Christmas present; open the Word.

Prayer:  Father, give me the power to read the Bible at least thirty to sixty minutes each day of the Christmas season.

Promise:  "The Stephen already spoken of was a man filled with grace and power, who worked great wonders and signs among the people." —Acts 6:8

Praise:  St. Stephen's forgiving love as he was being killed echoed the love Jesus showed on the cross.

Reference:  (To grow in love of God's word, read it daily. For encouragement, order our tape series on Biblical Counseling on audio AV 13A-1, AV 13A-3, AV 13B-1 or video starting with V-13A.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 27, 2011

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