Stephen is doing the work of God.
In and through his words and actions
he is giving witness to his belief in Jesus Christ.
Those who do not believe Jesus was sent by God, that he is the Son of God,
oppose this work.
We know that Stephen suffers martyrdom because he remains faithful to God’s work.
There are things that pass away, things that perish, things that are temporary
and then there are things that are eternal.
There are external physical things and there are inner spiritual things.
In his greatness God created both.
The Old Testament history of the Israelites
and the New Testament history of the Christian community
is the story of God’s work, God’s activity.
At the center of this story is Jesus Christ, his Son.
And the plot of the story finds resolution in salvation and redemption.
Part of the sub-plot of this story is that
when people look only upon the external,
become overly concerned and attached to the physical,
the more important works of God become concealed from them.
They fail to see, to accept and to appreciate
the wonderful work of God’s redemption and judgment
in the present and future.
Through this time of Easter celebration
we contemplate the work of God accomplished in and through Jesus Christ.
This work affects us personally and communally.
Today we are reminded:
we know God is at work in our lives
because we have faith in and put faith in Jesus his son.
In other words, the only reason we have faith in Christ, faith in his resurrection,
is because God put it in our hearts and we have graciously accepted it.
This faith, then, allows us to see what God is accomplishing in the present
especially as this pertains to the community of believers.
God’s work is to build up the community.
This includes the adding of new members….
so at Easter time we always welcome with joy the newly baptized.
But it also includes restoring long-standing members to their original baptismal dignity…
reorienting their minds and hearts to what is truly important.
Think for a moment, when we pray,
how often do our concerns pertain to what is physical and perishable
and how often do the pertain to what is eternal and incorruptible?
“O Lord, help us to recognize and actively participate in your work of salvation. Amen!”