Feast of St Stephen

Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (10: 17-22) in which Jesus tells his disciples that the Spirit of God will speak in them when they stand firm in bearing witness to him.

Today, Fr Paul says, we celebrate the feast of St Stephen and, he says, we need to be aware that St Stephen is the first martyr for our faith.  Hence, the Gospel reading talking about persecution, punishment, and scourging and about what to say and what not to say and so on.

Stephen was a deacon in our church, appointed by the Apostles simply to organise the distribution of food to the poor.  It is claimed he performed miracles and that he argued successfully against the Jews and because of this they fabricated charges against him.
At his trial, Stephen preached about Jesus and as a result, they stoned him to death.

On this Feast day of St Stephen, the first martyr of our faith, Fr Paul invites us to ask for his intercession, and to pray for us.