A (favorite) nephew who often plays the cynic with a sardonic sense of humor posted this on his wall today, right after Christmas:
To all the Non-believers…
Happy Normal Tuesday!!!
Unwittingly, he expressed the same sentiments as the Christian liturgy. Hardly has the warm glow of Christmas love and cheer faded and we are reminded that following the Baby in the Manger will mean treading the way of the cross.
Today is the feast of St. Stephen (not the Curry kind but probably named after this one), the first martyr of the then new Christian faith. The song that we sing is a lament, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” And the Gospel warns us,
“Beware of men, 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.”
Indeed, the road from the joy of the manger through the heady and inspiring days of the public ministry to the sorrowful end on the cross and finally on to the glory of the resurrection at the tomb is a long way. Pretty much what we go through ourselves as well as the promise held out to us by the Baby in the Manger.