Thursday, December 26, 2013

Birth and more birth

At first glance it may seem strange that the day after Christmas the Church celebrates St. Stephen, the first martyr (protomartyr) of Christianity. It may appear an odd juxtaposition, until we remember one thing. According to our faith, neither he nor any other martyr, really died. As we all hope to do, they simply passed from this life to eternal life. They were, in effect, reborn.

On the day after we celebrate the brith of Christ, we celebrate the day on which St. Stephen was born into eternal life.

And it is also worth noting that word martyr is not primarily about dying. It is the Greek word for "witness." Christian martyrs gave witness to their faith by being killed. No Christian martyr committed suicide or homicide. This would be a misuse of the word martyr.

Today as we celebrate the second day of Christmas, and commemorate St. Stephen, let us look for some ways large or small that we can sacrifice ourselves for others.