So they drag Saint Stephen before the Sanhedrin, and make all sorts of false claims against him. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? In fact, Stephen is in good company. He is brought to the same place where his Lord Jesus, and later Peter and the apostles, have gone before him. And just like all of them, even with all the lies and accusations flying around him, he is at peace. The source of his peace, is of course, his Lord who has gone before him, that same Lord who now fills him, as the first line of the reading says, with “grace and power.” The peace that fills the martyrs is remarkable, and indicates that they have indeed been called to that kind of witness and are empowered to withstand it by their God.
We too, will be tested in this life because of our faith. We too, can rely on that same grace and power if we unite ourselves to our Risen Lord. Maybe we won’t be called on to actually give up our lives, but we will are all called at one time or another to suffer in some way when we authentically give witness to our faith. Like Stephen and the martyrs, that is our calling, and we can rely on the help of the Lord to get us through it.