26 December [St Stephen]
Mt 10:17-22

Jesus said, “Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

It was no perfect world that Jesus was born into, but a harsh brutal place where violence is loved more than peace.  “I love war...” said General Patton, “peace is going to be hell on me.”  And we make war in order to be able to make more war.  Simone Weil wrote, “What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things which enable its citizens to live, but the things which enable it to make war.  Gasoline is much more likely than wheat to be a cause of international conflict.” 

Into this terrible world Jesus was born. He was the Prince of Peace in the kingdom of violence, and refused to live according to its logic, so he had to die.  After him, Stephen was the first Christian martyr, the first of many. 



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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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