One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

December 26, 2006

For the Feast of Saint Stephen the First Martyr, December 26

Matthew 10:17-22
Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59

Yesterday in commemorating the birth of the Lord, we knelt upon the ground while proclaiming that he became flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Everything that our Lord did in the flesh was by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel according to St. John tells us that when the Lord died he gave up the Spirit.
The letter to the Hebrews [9:14] confirms that Christ through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to the Father.
For every believing follower of Christ it is the same.
When we live or surrender our lives for the sake of Christ, it is the power of the Father’s Holy Spirit that makes our lives, our actions, our thoughts, words, deeds and our deaths into genuine testimony on behalf of Christ.
It is the power of the Father’s Holy Spirit that makes us into authentic witnesses for Christ.
A Moslem can recite his entire creed in one breath.
“There is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet.”
A Jew could also recite his creed in one breath.
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God. The Lord alone!”
A Christian, however, would need at least two breaths.
In the first breath, he would proclaim that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit–– three persons, one God.
In the second breath, the Christian would declare that God the Son, in order to save us from sin, was born a man, died and rose from the dead.
These are the two flags of the Christian faith: the Trinity and the Incarnation.
St. Stephen was put to death because he waved these two flags.
In the very hour he was executed, he gave the longest single speech recorded in the whole Bible.
At the conclusion of this spoken testimony, the Holy Spirit gave Stephen a vision, an epiphany, a manifestation of the Trinity and the Incarnation, so that he cried out, “Look! I see the heavens opened and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”
For this, Stephen was put to death.
The very same epiphany is given to us here in the Eucharist by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Stephen was killed for what we believe and daily receive in the Eucharist.
Here within the hour heaven will open, and the Father will send his Sanctifying Spirit upon the bread and wine we shall offer so that they will become the body and blood of his Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
With the Eucharist, we raise the same two flags of the Trinity and the Incarnation for which St. Stephen died.
In the Eucharist we receive what St. Stephen received: the power of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father.

That God Be Glorified in All


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