Commentary on the Gospel of
We joyfully celebrated the birth of Jesus. It was no perfect world that Jesus was born into, but a harsh brutal place of constant struggle between light and darkness. 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 whom we honour today was the first Christian martyr, the first of many of them who carry on his legacy of martyrdom even to this day.
Here is the blood of Stephen, stoned to death, because he had the courage to believe in the promise expressed in the simplicity of the crib (Acts 6:13-14). He gave witness to his faith in Jesus to the last moment of his life. At the hour of his death he says: “I can see Heaven thrown open, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56). And in falling dead under the stones, he imitated Jesus crying out: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7:60; Lk 23:34).
Martyrdom is not easy, even for saints. But inevitably, Christian martyrs embrace it, not because they are not afraid, but because they believe in a greater good and deeper love that impels them to give up their life even for their enemies. They never die. They are born into heaven. May our martyrs inspire us to live our faith to our last breath and strive for a world as the Prince of peace wants it to be.