Daily Reading for December 26 • St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr
The Greek word Stephen means “crowned” in Latin. In a very beautiful way he anticipated by the portent of his name what he was about to experience in reality—“abjectly stoned but crowned on high.” In Hebrew, however, his name means “your norm.” Whose norm, if not that of the subsequent martyrs, for whom, by being the first to suffer, he became the model of dying for Christ? . . .
This is what the Lord himself tells his martyrs: “For I will give you eloquence and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to withstand or contradict.” It was fitting that in the first martyr he should confirm what he deigned to promise to all those handed over [to martyrdom] for the sake of his name.
From Bede’s Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament V: Acts, edited by Francis Martin (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2006).