Year A: Fifth Sunday of Easter
Second Reading: 1 Peter 2: 4-9
In today’s Reading, St Peter is highlighting the grace given to those whom God has chosen as His own: a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of the God who called us out of the darkness into His wonderful light.
This is heady stuff! And how often do we actually see ourselves as this? How often do we see ourselves as the living stones which make up a spiritual home for God among God’s people?
In describing the early Church, St Peter does not emphasise how many church buildings there are - mainly because the Church did not have any church buildings! He does not quote statistics - or set targets. Instead, he looks at the people in his charge and recognises them for what they - God’s holy people. They are the living stones founded upon the corner-stone which is Christ. This stone was had been rejected and had proven itself to be stumbling-block to those who first held the plans for this spiritual home. But, to those who now formed the Church, this stone was recognised as precious - indispensable - for without that key-stone, the building will not stand.
When we think of the word “church”, our minds go automatically to the buildings in which we worship. Our success is sometimes measured by how many churches we have and how grand they are. The number of people who gather there week-by-week may be measured - but there is a tendency to see them in terms of “pew-fodder”! They come - they go. They enjoy the worship (or not). They are seen to come to Mass once a week - and for many, that is enough.
Perhaps, when we think of the word “church”, we should adopt St Peter’s way of seeing it. Looking not just inside the buildings - but inside the people. Are they living stones building a dwelling for God - or are they dead? Do they recognise and develop the priesthood to which their baptism calls them? Do they see themselves and their lives as consecrated to God and God alone? Do they see themselves as people set apart and called to sing the praises of God - here and in eternity?
For some, turning up to Mass once a week seems far safer - but St Peter does not even mention that (as they did not have the Mass as we know it!).
Our calling as Christians is very high - are we brave enough to raise our own sights to live it out?
What does it mean for me?
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