Mass Schedule for the Week of Christmas (December 25, 2011)
26, Monday – St. Stephen
27, Tuesday – St. John Evangelist
28, Wednesday – Holy Innocents
29, Thursday – Feria
30, Friday – Feria
Why did I blog Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas Message? Her Christmas Message is so unabashedly Christian, caring and challenging to everyone. It is only about 8 or 9 minutes and it is very encouraging to see a world leader caring for the world and naming Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior! That is why I blogged it. By the way, she writes her Christmas Message. To check it out go to our website and click on Blog and scroll down a bit.
The Christmas Season begins with Christmas Day and runs through the Twelfth Night (the evening of January 5), the Eve of Epiphany. The week after Christmas is marked by the celebration of three great feasts, St. Stephen, St. John, and Holy Innocents.
St. Stephen is the protomartyr of the Church. Stephen is depicted in iconography as a beardless young man wearing a deacon’s dalmatic (a vestment for deacons) and often holding a miniature Church or a thurible. According to the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 6 & 7) the Sanhedrin tried Stephen for blasphemy because he was a Christian. While on trial he experienced a vision of the glorified Christ and God the Father. The enraged Jews, encouraged by Saul of Tarsus, stoned him to death as he described the heavenly vision. He died praying for the forgiveness of those stoning him to death.
St. John the Evangelist is traditionally identified as the author of the Gospel of John, the three Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation. He is also known as the Beloved Disciple, however as early as 200 AD that identity has been somewhat debated. He was probably the youngest of our Lord’s Apostles and the only one to live into old age.
Holy Innocents commemorates the infanticide of Harod the King of Judah. The event is described in Matthew 2: 16-18. This should remind you of the killing of the Hebrew first born by Pharaoh when Moses was born.