Dec 26 2019 Reflection
Thursday 26 December 2019
First Reading: ACTS 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
PS 31:3CD-4, 6 AND 8AB, 16BC AND 17
Gospel Reading: MT 10:17-22
Today’s Note: Feast of Saint Stephen, first martyr
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.”
What is the connection between Bethlehem and Calvary – the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and his passion and death on a cross? The very reason the Son of God took on flesh and became a man for our sake was to redeem us from slavery to sin and death and to give us new life as the adopted children of God. The way to glory in the kingdom of God is through the cross. If we want to share in Jesus’ glory, then we, too, must take up our cross each day and follow in his footsteps.
The cost of following and serving the Lord Jesus Christ
Jesus never hesitated to tell his disciples what they might expect if they followed and served him. Here Jesus says to his disciples – This is my task for you at its grimmest and worst; do you accept it? This is not the world’s way of offering glory, honor, and success. After the defeat at Dunkirk during World War II, Churchill offered his country “blood, toil, sweat, and tears.” Suffering for the name of Jesus Christ is not the message we prefer to hear when the Lord commissions us in his service. Nonetheless, our privilege is to follow in the footsteps of the Master who laid down his life for us. The Lord gives us sufficient grace to follow him and to bear our cross with courage and hope. Do you know the joy and victory of the cross of Jesus Christ?
“Lord Jesus, your coming in the flesh to ransom us from slavery to sin gives us cause for great rejoicing even in the midst of trials and pain. Help me to patiently and joyfully accept the hardships, adversities, and persecution which come my way in serving you. Strengthen my faith and give me courage that I may not shrink back from doing your will”.