- They stop their ears.
- They try to outshout him.
- They kill him.
This was not an isolated incident. The same reactions happen even today when the Truth of Christ is proclaimed.
There are places in the world where ministers of the Gospel are being imprisoned and killed just for doing their jobs. Even in “civilized” countries, opponents of the Truth of Christ can be vicious and even violent.
Moreover, each of us can remember situations when we have proclaimed our faith to other people only to be met with loud rants or closed minds.
The example of St. Stephen, protomartyr, is clear:
It is good to be prudent, but ultimately we must be faithful: we must proclaim.
We should remember that the immediate, negative reactions to Stephen were not the end of the story, not even his death was the end.
One of the young men who was there, who had doubtlessly heard what Stephen had proclaimed and who certainly consented to Stephen’s death, by the grace of Christ would himself become one of the most powerful and effective people ever to proclaim the Gospel: Saint Paul the Apostle.
We must proclaim the truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because Christ himself has commanded us to do this and because his love so overflows our hearts that we must share it.
We will be opposed and we should be prudent, but we must proclaim anyway.
Even if we think we fail, we must be faithful, for it is Christ’s message that we share and it is Christ’s grace that can and will work wonders beyond our imagining.