Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's always startling that the Church places the Feast of Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, the very day after Christmas. On the other hand, isn't it true to our experience of life: that laughing and weeping are often side by side? Isn't it also a potent reminder to us all: the Christian life is not all about warm fireplaces and cheery carols - following Christ out of the crib and into adult life means facing the world's contempt for the Gospel message. It was true for Jesus, for Saint Stephen, and for us. It was Jesus, after all – not the twinkly-eyed child in swaddling clothes, but the fiery itinerant rabbi – who said, "Woe to you when all speak well of you." And wasn't it C.S. Lewis who quipped, "There's a world of difference between being a nice guy and being a new man in Christ." If everyone thinks you're a nice guy, what are you doing wrong? The secular newspaper comic strips today have "funny" lines about Christmas being over so soon. Really? Forget the 12 Days of Christmas from now until Epiphany -- what about life? Every day we awaken to God's Grace is a new Christmas day for the Believer. Each moment we praise God's goodness and providence is another birth of saving Grace for the Believer. And, "Whatever you do for these least ones..." is a new birth of hope. Merry Christmas --- the second day of Christmas.
Msgr. William J. King

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