Dec. 26th: Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr, who was killed by the Jews
By Martin Hill
LibertyFight.com
[Originally published December 26, 2013.]

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Today is December 26th, the Feast of St. Stephen. Stephen was one of the first seven Catholic deacons and the first martyr. The apostles had ordained seven deacons to help with the daily care of the poor and widowed. Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews around A.D. 34-35 for exposing their wrongdoing. (Outlined in Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 7.)

Catholic.org explains, "God worked many miracles through St. Stephen and he spoke with such wisdom and grace that many of his hearers became followers of Jesus. The enemies of the Church of Jesus were furious to see how successful Stephen's preaching was. At last, they laid a plot for him. They could not answer his wise argument, so they got men to lie about him, saying that he had spoken sinfully against God. St. Stephen faced that great assembly of enemies without fear. In fact, the Holy Bible says that his face looked like the face of an angel."


The Stoning of St. Stephen by Pietro da Cortona, c. 1660 [The Hermitage, St. Petersburg] pic.twitter.com/Rf5BgqUnFs

— Martin (@LibertyFight) December 26, 2018

Acts 7:51-59

"You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you also. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them who foretold of the coming of the Just One; of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. Now hearing these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed with their teeth at him. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And he said: Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. And they crying out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and with one accord ran violently upon him. And casting him forth without the city, they stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, invoking, and saying: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep in the Lord. And Saul was consenting to his death."


Orthodoxwiki states, in part, "The Jews in their hatred of St. Stephen lied about him to the people, but St. Stephen with his face illumined reminded the people of the miracles God had worked through him and even rebuked the Jews for killing the innocent Christ. The people were enraged by what they thought was blasphemy and 'gnashed their teeth' at Stephen. It was then that he saw his Christ in the heavens and declared it so. Hearing this, the Jews took him outside the city and stoned him to death, with his kinsman Saul (later St. Paul) holding their coats while they did it. Afar off on a hill was the Virgin Mary and St. John the Theologian who witnessed this first martyrdom for the Son of God and prayed for him while he was being stoned. This occurred about a year after the first Pentecost."

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has a Christmas Season webpage, states "The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts, and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him�including the fact that he was born to die for us."

Their page for December 26th, Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr states "On this Feast of St. Stephen the Martyr, consider Pope Francis' thoughts about the "daily martyrdom" of those who sacrifice for the good of their family." Their prayer suggestion is the First Antiphon for Morning Prayer on the Feast of Saint Stephen: "Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father." As Saint Stephen died for Christ, so may we live for him whose cross brings us life eternal!


The Catechism of the Catholic Church covers martyrdom:

II. To Bear Witness to the Truth
2471 Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he �has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth." The Christian is not to �be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord." In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep �a clear conscience toward God and toward men."

2472 The duty of Christians to take part in the life of the Church impels them to act as witnesses of the Gospel and of the obligations that flow from it. This witness is a transmission of the faith in words and deeds. Witness is an act of justice that establishes the truth or makes it known. All Christians by the example of their lives and the witness of their word, wherever they live, have an obligation to manifest the new man which they have put on in Baptism and to reveal the power of the Holy Spirit by whom they were strengthened at Confirmation.

2473 Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. �Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God."
2474 The Church has painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They form the archives of truth written in letters of blood.
...2506 The Christian is not to "be ashamed of testifying to our Lord" (2 Tim 1:8) in deed and word. Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith.


Newadvent.org's CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA St. Stephen page states, in part,
"The Church had, by selecting him for a deacon, publicly acknowledged him as a man "of good reputation, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom" (Acts 6:3). He was "a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost", "full of grace and fortitude"; his uncommon oratorical powers and unimpeachable logic no one was able to resist, so much so that to his arguments replete with the Divine energy of the Scriptural authorities God added the weight of "great wonders and signs". Great as was the efficacy of "the wisdom and the spirit that spoke", still it could not bend the minds of the unwilling; to these the forceful preacher was fatally soon to become an enemy.

The conflict broke out when the cavillers of the synagogues "of the Libertines, and of the Cyreneans, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia", who had challenged Stephen to a dispute, came out completely discomfited; wounded pride so inflamed their hatred that they suborned false witnesses to testify that "they had heard him speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God".

No charge could be more apt to rouse the mob; the anger of the ancients and the scribes had been already kindled from the first reports of the preaching of the Apostles. Stephen was arrested, not without some violence it seems (the Greek word synerpasan implies so much), and dragged before the Sanhedrin, where he was accused of saying that "Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place [the temple], and shall change the traditions which Moses delivered unto us".

Suggested Reading:

Frequently Asked Questions About Deacons

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Diaconate

An Interview with Dr. E. Michael Jones on The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit

Vatican rejects "chosen people" claim, calls on Israel to end "occupation"

"Greek-Melchite Archbishop Cyrille Bustros sparked an interreligious firestorm when he suggested that Israel was �using Scripture� to continue its occupation of Palestinian territory. "The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians,� Bustros said at the close of a two-week conference in Rome, Italy, "to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands." The Archbishop then questioned the biblical idea of a �promised land� set aside by a specific group of people. "We Christians cannot speak of the promised land as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people,� Bustros continued. "This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people � all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people."

Excerpt from: Fathers of the Church - Sermons of St. Leo the Great (c. 391 or 400 � 10 November 461) Sermon 33 - On the Feast of the Epiphany, III.

III. The chosen race is no longer the Jews, but believers of every nation

And so they enter the chief city of the Kingdom of Jud�a, and in the royal city ask that He should be shown them Whom they had learned was begotten to be King. Herod is perturbed: he fears for his safety, he trembles for his power, he asks of the priests and teachers of the Law what the Scripture has predicted about the birth of Christ, he ascertains what had been prophesied: truth enlightens the wise men, unbelief blinds the experts: carnal Israel understands not what it reads, sees not what it points out; refers to the pages, whose utterances it does not believe. Where is your boasting, O Jew? Where your noble birth drawn from the stem of Abraham? Is not your circumcision become uncircumcision Romans 2:25? Behold, the greater serves the less Genesis 25:23, and by the reading of that covenant which you keep in the letter only, you become the slave of strangers born, who enter into the lot of your heritage. Let the fullness of the nations enter into the family of the patriarchs, yea let it enter, and let the sons of promise receive in Abraham's seed the blessing which his sons, according to the flesh, renounce their claim to. In the three Magi let all people worship the Author of the universe: and let God be known not in Jud�a alone, but in all the world, so that everywhere �His name� may be �great in Israel. � For while the dignity of the chosen race is proved to be degenerate by unbelief in its descendants, it is made common to all alike by our belief.


Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise, LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened.com, Infowars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association, AmericanFreePress.net, RomanCatholicReport.com, WorldNetDaily, OverdriveOnline.com, Educate-Yourself.org, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show, Strike-The-Root.com, Pasadena Weekly, ActivistPost.com, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640, IamtheWitness.com, Redlands Daily Facts, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report, Devvy.com, Rense.com, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze, CopBlock.org, DavidIcke.com, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer, Antiwar.com, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com and DontWakeMeUp.Org.

"The more one does what is good, the freer one becomes. There is no true freedom except in the service of what is good and just. the choice to disobey and do evil is an abuse of freedom and leads to "the slavery of sin." [Catechism of the Catholic Church 1733.]
A 'Mission' lecture series on The Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell: - By Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea

This is an absolute must-hear from my favorite website, AudioSancto.org. I highly recommend this five part series of free audio lectures by this traditional Catholic priest on the most important things which we all will face. (Of course we will experience only three of the four last things, since a person can not go to both Heaven and hell.)

Prelude to the Mission
On Death
On Judgement
On Hell
On Heaven

Here is Fr. Relyea's website which has several more talks on various subjects: StPiosFriary.com

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