Liturgical readings are available here.
The liturgical reading from the Acts of the Apostles offers only the last section of the long speech of Steven (Acts 7) where he narrates and interprets the history of Israel. Everything culminates in his martyrdom. But that is only appearance. The reality is much deeper.
Steven in his vision regards the heavens open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God:
- The debate turns out to be an accusation of Judaism: Steven, from being accused turns to accuse the Jews.
- The true judgment takes place in heaven.
This event has still more consequences.
- The young Church starts experiencing public persecution, as attested from this moment on in the Acts.
- The promise of Jesus is and will be confirmed over and over again: when the holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
And what happens with Steven? Steven himself was a deacon – servant and his martyrdom is totally in service of the spreading of the gospel. This is how Jesus himself understood the purpose of his life: the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.