You will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness


Yesterday, we reflected deeply on the mystery of the Incarnation in a very joyful atmosphere. The imagery of a gentle infant beautifully laid in a manger is still fresh in our minds. Today, however, we are led to reflect on the offering of blood by St. Stephen, the first martyr (Acts 7:54-60). Nevertheless, it is clear that St. Stephen bore witness to Jesus, to the very person whose birth we celebrate during this Christmas season. Today’s Gospel reminds us that accepting Christ in our life would have consequences, such as martyrdom (Greek martyrion). We Christians must bear witness to Christ who came into the flesh, even if it would also entail our everyday martyrdom.

As Christians, do we acknowledge that the mystery of the Incarnation also entails martyrdom? Do we truly understand that the word “martyrdom” means to bear witness? Are we ready to bear witness to Christ not only in joyful celebrations, but also in our capacity to do sacrifices for others?

First Reading • Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people.
Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.

When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Gospel • Mt 10:17-22
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of people, 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.”

Source: “365 Days with the Lord 2022,” St. Pauls, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail:; Website: