DOUBLE, SECOND CLASS / RED
Stephen, the first to give his life for Christ, died, as did his master, praying for his persecutors. Stephen was one of the seven deacons appointed by the Apostles to preach and care for the poor. Because of the great signs and wonders he worked among the people, he was hailed before the Jewish Sanhedrin and condemned to stoning. St. Stephen's prayer, "Lord, do not lay this sin against them," fulfilled Christ's command to His followers, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you" (Matt. 5:44).
INTROIT Ps. 118:23, 86, 23
Princes met and spoke against me, and the wicked persecuted me. Help me, O Lord my God, because Your servant has followed Your commandments.
Ps. 118:1. Blessed are they who are undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
V. Glory Be . . .
O Lord, we celebrate the birthday of Stephen, who prayed for his persecutors. May we imitate this saint, whom we revere, and learn from him to love even our enemies. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son . . .
Commemoration of the Octave of CHRISTMAS
EPISTLE Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-60
In those days, Stephen, full of grace and fortitude, did great wonders and signs among the people. Now there arose some, of that which is called the synagogue of the Libertines and of the Cyrenians and of the Alexandrians and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit that spoke. Now hearing these things, they were cut to the heart: and they gnashed with their teeth at him. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looking up steadfastly to heaven, saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And he said: "Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." And they, crying out with a loud voice, stopped their ears and with one accord ran violently upon him. And casting him forth without the city. they stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, invoking and saying: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And falling on his knees, he cried with a loud voice, saying: "Lord, lay not his sin to their charge": And when he had said this, he fell asleep in the Lord.
GRADUAL Ps. 118:23, 86; 6:5
Princes met and spoke against me, and the wicked persecuted me.
V. Help me, O Lord my God! Save me for Your mercy's sake.
Alleluia, alleluia! V. Acts 7:56
I see the heavens opened, and Jesus standing at the right hand of the power of God.
GOSPEL Matt. 23:34-39
At that time, Jesus said to the scribes and pharisees,"Therefore behold I send to you prophets and wise men and scribes: and some of them you will put to death and crucify: and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city. That upon you may come all the just blood that hath been shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel the just, even unto the blood of Zacharias the son of Barachias, whom you killed between the temple and the altar. Amen I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldst not? Behold, your house shall be left to you, desolate. For I say to you, you shall not see me henceforth till you say: 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.' "
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Acts 6:5; 7:59
The Apostles chose Stephen, a Levite, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, whom the Jews stoned while he prayed and said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Alleluia!
O Lord, receive our offerings in memory of Your saints; and as they were made glorious by their suffering, may we be made sinless by our devotion. Through Our Lord . . .
Commemoration of the Octave of CHRISTMAS
The Christmas Preface and Communicantes are said
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Acts 7:56, 59, 60
I see the heavens opened, and Jesus standing at the right hand of the power of God. Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, and lay not this sin against them.
O Lord, through the intercession of Your beloved martyr Stephen, may we be aided by the reception of the Blessed Sacrament and rejoice in Your everlasting protection. Through Our Lord . . .
Commemoration of the Octave of Christmas