Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
December 26th, 2011
Carol Zuegner

Journalism Department
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Feast of St. Stephen
[696] Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Psalm 31:3cd-4, 6ab+8ab, 16bc+17
Matthew 10:17-22

The story of St. Stephen in the first reading and the Gospel combine for a powerful and maybe uncomfortable message. Doing the right thing is hard. Sometimes it can be dangerous, and, as in the case of Stephen and other martyrs, doing the right thing and speaking with the spirit can be fatal. In the Gospel, the message to the disciples is a grim one, reminiscent of much of what we see and hear happening around the world today. People do inconceivable things to each other in distant places and around the corner.  Why do these things happen? Who lets that happen?

We see hateful things everyday. Perhaps we can’t do much about the world’s problems, but we can do something about our own lives. We have to stand up and do the right thing every day. When someone is being demeaned by another person,  we can ask God, as Jesus says in the Gospel,  to give us what to say, for the grace and wisdom to speak up and stop the tiny bits of hate, of people treating others as less than human. We treat people as less than human when we gossip, when we let an unkind remark go by, when we witness something cruel. While we may not be the ones doing the deed, our roles as silent bystanders help build up those little bits of hate.

We often let ourselves off the hook by thinking these small things don’t matter. I don’t want to make a scene, we say to ourselves. I worry what others might thing, we say to ourselves.  It’s time to change that message to ourselves. I will speak up because it’s the right thing to do. I will ask God for the grace and wisdom. As the psalm says, “Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your kindness.”

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