Feast of Saint Stephen

What does it mean to say, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit”? These are the last words of Jesus on the cross. And these are the same as the final words of Stephen in the first reading, whose feast we celebrate today: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Jesus describes this kind of trust in today’s Gospel when he says, “Do not worry” … about how we will handle any difficulty, any persecution, any challenges in our life. God holds us in the palm of His hand, tenderly, lovingly and protectively. Even if we die for standing firm in our faith, as Stephen did, we are protected, because no one can take from us what belongs to God. Our hearts, our minds and our souls belong to Him. These are held tightly in God’s hands for all eternity.

What are we in the process of commending to the Father? Do we need to give up any anger or disappointments that were triggered on Christmas? Do we need to give up any fears about the future? Do we need to give up plans that are not working out? Do we need to give up any illusions of not being dependent upon God for everything? For every let ting go, tell the Lord, “Into your hands, I commend my spirit” or “… I entrust this matter to you.” In such humility, peace grows. Peace grows because we realize that God holds us in the palm of His hand, for all eternity.

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