It is jarring, but instructive, that the day after the birth of the Prince of Peace, the Church proposes that we celebrate Saint Stephen who was brutally martyred by a mob (whipped up by a pre-conversion St. Paul.)
It is a sad truth that our faith was born out of violence and has perpetrated violence on others throughout the centuries. We have, I hope, learned not to hurt others – at least physically. But others have not yet reached the light because there are still countless thousands of people who suffer persecution for their faith.
Some are unwitting victims of religious fanatics who want to bomb their way to salvation, others are brave souls who – through their solidarity with the poor and vulnerable – are gunned down by the forces of oppression.
Those of us who dwell in safety must never allow ourselves to forget those who are on the brink of destruction.