Monday, December 26, 2005

While we're on "The Feast of Stephen..."

Let's not forget "Good King Wenceslas," subject of a Christmas carol that actually has not much to do with Christmas at all but extols the good king's love of the poor.

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shown the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel.

Anyway, Wenceslas is linked to Stephen not just because of the carol, but because they share the gift of martrydom!

Words from today's Gospel (for the feast of Saint Stephen) really brings this home:

"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.”

While Stephen wasn't killed by his blood kin (I don't think), he was killed by his own people. Wenceslas, was actually killed by his own brother while he adored Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

But wait! There's more!

As we know, Wenceslas was a king, but loved the poor. As we read in Sacred Scripture (Acts 6), Stephen was one of the first deacons of the Church. Why was the diaconate established? Why, to minister to the widows — the poor — while the first Bishops (the Apostles) preached the Good News.

I don't know about you, but I love stuff like this!

And I wish I could claim originality for these musings, but I can't...the priest at today's Mass talked about it in his sermon.

(I walked all the way home singing "Good King Wenceslas," drawing not
too many odd glances and even a smile or two.)

To sing or hear the whole Wenceslas carol, go here.

To find out more about the saint, go here.