The question asked in the Gospel of John today is "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" This should always be the question that is on our lips as we live the Christian life. For being about "the works of God" is what we have embraced in our life mission as we made our YES in the rebirth of baptism.
The answer is simple - BELIEVE! Believe in the One that the Father has sent! This is the work of God. We tend to view this response as things to do, goals to be accomplished, checking off the things on our priority list. And while we must put into action our convictions and belief ... while we must set our sight on the goal to be reached ... while it is great to prioritize ... it can only be meaningful and find purpose when it is seen in terms of our relationship with the risen, living, vibrant Lord of life - Jesus the Christ.
Stephen knew this. He was filled with grace and power and was working great signs and wonders because he was focused upon the Lord and committed to intensifying his relationship with Jesus. Even when facing certain death by stoning, Stephen kept his eyes upon the Lord and welcomed his death with joy.
Focus on the Risen Lord! Embrace him in love and acceptance! Believe ... and do the work of God!
Yesterday in our parish we celebrated with sixteen families the First Holy Communion of seventeen young people (there were two brothers receiving together). This was the first of two groups (next Sunday another fifteen). It was a wonderful celebration. The kids were excited, they looked great, parents and grandparents were out in force, parties were planned, pictures galore were taken, but it all boiled down to our worship of God, our celebration of Word and Sacrament, and their coming with joy and trust to the Table of the Lord. Congratulations to all who at this time of the year approach the altar with youthful joy and enthusiasm.