It’s a little bit of a shock to wake up after a joy-filled Christmas celebration of Our Savior’s birth and read about the life of St. Stephen. The story starts off good, “Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people,” but it quickly takes a drastic turn for the worst. In spite of Stephen’s wisdom and miraculous works, the people lash out and him, eventually stoning him to death. St. Stephen is the first martyr of the faith.

These two events, the birth of Christ and the martyrdom of His devoted disciple, show us the depth of God’s love for us, as well as the depth of love we must be willing to give back to Him. He became man so that we might have eternal life with Him, but in order to fully receive that gift, it’s necessary to live a life of sacrifice here on earth.

In our society, as it was in St. Stephen’s time, it is not easy to proclaim our love for God. However, if we love Him, if we have truly understood what Jesus came to do for humanity, we will share the Good News of the Gospel.

When people laugh at your faith or mock your beliefs, remember St. Stephen. His love for the Lord was so strong that no amount of persecution or suffering would cause him to doubt God’s faithfulness. Pray that you too may be filled with the Holy Spirit. Fix your eyes on Christ and let nothing keep you from experiencing and sharing the joy of a Savior who will never abandon His people.

Becky Roach is a member of the Communications staff at Fuzati, a strategic Catholic marketing company that seeks to place marketing and innovation at the service of the Church.

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