A reading according to the holy Gospel of Matthew 10:17-22
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”
REFLECTION: "You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."
Every year the readings of December 26 challenge us as we are taken away form the peace, beauty and the solemnity of Christmas day. We are reminded that Jesus came to save souls. The only reason He took on flesh and became man was to redeem us. We are to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and Redemption by picking up our cross and following in the footsteps of Jesus. We now are reminded of the martyrs, who for their faith, lived, served and died for Jesus.
St Stephen was the very first who was martyred. "You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." Stephen "filled with grace and power" ( Acts 6a; 8-10) enraged certain members of the synagogue because of their jealousy of his wisdom and the spirit who was speaking through him. They dragged him out and stoned him.
Jesus promised whoever endured to the end would be rewarded with salvation. And St Stephen saw the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God, and his spirit was received by Jesus.
We know that Our Lord gives us sufficient grace to follow him and to carry our cross with courage, hope, love and perseverance. And how are we sure that such grace will be ours? Through a meaningful prayer life, we can prepare ourselves for our station in life in service of the Lord. If we are to be used, the Holy Spirit will set us on fire when it is our turn.
PAPA prays for our priests to be on fire for Jesus and His Church, the Body and Bride of Christ. (Our VIsion page 6 PAPA handbook). Through our prayer life, sacrifices, reciting the PAPA prayer for priest, serving and blessing, the Holy Spirit will enhance the work of our priests.