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The day after Christmas is often a day of rest for many.

We have been building up momentum for Christmas.  Now it has happened.

However, this time, for about the next two weeks, is still known as the Christmas period.

On this second day after Christmas, we celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

Stephen was a deacon in the early Church during the time of the Apostles.  He preached Jesus dying and rising and proclaimed the Christian message.  By doing this he encountered the anger of those who had killed Jesus.

He was arrested and stoned to death.  He died forgiving those who killed him.

One of those who totally approved of this killing, and even aided and abetted in it, was a certain young man called Saul from Tarsus.  We now know him as St. Paul.  This, or course, was before his conversion.

The joy, celebration and merriment of Christmas is followed by encountering a murder.

I remember reading a book by Sebastian Moore some years ago, ‘The Rose and the Thorn are One’.  Birth, dying and rising are central to our Christian story.

We are born again, renewed by Christ.  He gives us hope and new life in Baptism.

We are called to die to sin and the ego.  The seed that dies bears fruit.

We share in the victory of the Resurrection of Christ.

Jesus gives us hope as we face all manner of challenges.

Like Stephen, we bear witness to Jesus dying and rising.  We do so by being faithful to our vocation.

We blossom where are planted knowing that Jesus is our constant companion, and that we strengthen each other in hope, energised by the Holy Spirit.


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