"Who do you want to be …?” That was the question posed many years ago, to a young man named Dan Crenshaw by a friend of his father who he admired. Crenshaw answered he wanted to be a Navy Seal, but the older man who had served in the military clarified by saying: “Not what do you want to do but who do you want to become?”
In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see who Stephen became: a man of faith and fortitude. A man who bravely shared his faith in God by reminding the elders and scribes of their unwillingness to let the Holy Spirit inform and inspire their hearts and minds.
And, what set them off was when he said: "You have received the law as transmitted by angels, but you did not observe it." So who do we want to become? And, at times, are we like the elders and scribes? (If we’re honest, that’s us sometimes too.)
What happens next gives us a model for how we can react to anger from others and how we are to model our faith. Instead of getting into a back and forth or running away, Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looks to God and shares the Good News. He believes in God to the point of turning to Him instead of listing his credentials, and in the end, Stephen's act of faith and fortitude in giving his life for the faith spoke more loudly than the harsh words and brutal actions of those who would not listen.
So, if today, you're struggling with questions about faith, either from family, friends, or not so friendly types or perhaps even some internal doubt…we can do what St. Stephen did: bravely and faithfully look to God to fill us with the Holy Spirit. The one who inspires and gives us the fortitude and faith to become who we are made to be: followers of Jesus Christ.
May God bless you and your families this holy day as we pray that we may become who God intends us to be.
About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!