The Prelate’s Sermon, Sunday, May 1
Today, the third Sunday of the Feast of Holy Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, has been dedicated by our Church Fathers to the Upper Room where our Lord with the Disciples had the Last Supper, celebrating the feast of Pascha, the shadow of the forthcoming eternal Pascha, and where the Twelve used to gather and pray waiting the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Today’s scriptural reading is from the Epistle of Saint Peter. The Apostle says, “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood” (1 Pet 2:5). This reading is indeed remarkable. It so harmoniously fits in the context and highlights the title of the day. Hence, I share a few thoughts derived from our reading today.
The structural Church no doubt is important to celebrate the good news of the Risen Lord, as a community, to spread it like the Apostles., and to enjoy multifaceted spiritual, cultural, social programs.
The Apostle invites us all to focus on a reality which is imperative in preserving and growing the structural but mostly the living Church, the Body of Christ. In modern times, the criteria of being a good parishioner might be just to assume a duty in any function of the Church, either the National Representative Assembly, Board of Trustees, Altar Server, Choir, Ladies’ Guild, Men’s Club, instructor, etc. These are definitely important for a functional Church. Yet, the Apostle invites us to explore the depth of our calling. When Peter confessed to Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the Son of God” and Jesus calls him, “you are Peter, rock, and on this rock I will build my church” (Mt 16:16-17) referring to his confession, it makes us aware that beyond our material commitment to the visible church we have a higher and sacred vocation to fulfill as the living stones to be witnesses of the Risen Lord and to lay the foundation of Faith in those who are deprived to realize the promise of our Heavenly Father to all mankind.
With this understanding, the Living Stone means to be in living contact with of our Lord Jesus Christ, constantly asking Him to renew and strengthen us in our faith, for Peter the rock himself stumbled after confessing the Divinity of Christ (Mt 16:22-24).
How privileged we should feel for being chosen to be the Living Stones of His earthly yet celestial gift, His living Church, where we will be celebrating His eternal company, glory, and all promises He showered upon us. Let us always in the words of the Psalmist serve the Lord joyfully and come into His presence with singing (Ps 100:2). For our worship is directed ultimately to be in His Presence and praise the All-Holy Trinity. Amen.