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May 18, 2014

A little girl was sitting at the kitchen table with a few sheets of paper and a box of crayons.  She was drawing a picture.  "What are you drawing?" her mother asked her.  She replied, "I' m drawing a picture of God."  "But darling," said her mother, "nobody knows what God looks like."  And the little girl answered, "But they will when I have finished the picture!"

The main mission of the Church founded by Christ is to show God to the world, but many times we leave it to the hierarchy only.  This weekend we are reminded by the words of the First Pope, Peter, “Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5).    The Church is as a spiritual building constructed of living stones with Christ himself as the cornerstone.  Christ is the Church’s sole foundation, the way, the truth and the life.  In that spiritual edifice wherein we are all the living stones, there are a variety of ministries, all contribute to the community’s welfare.

As living stones Christians are involved in every aspect of life: a life with God and a life with others.  We are living stones because we are united with the one irreplaceable foundation, Christ the Lord through prayer, worship and sacraments.  We live because the life that binds him and the Father reaches us as well.

But there is also a horizontal dimension.  The living stones are involved in ministry.  The first reading from the Acts of Apostles speaks of shared responsibility, of a move away from a top-heavy structure of authority.  And ministry is a “diakonia,” a form of Christian service, deaconate.  With the great variety of outreach ministries in the Church today, it would be wrong to see this largely in terms of religious life.  Yet it is undeniable that historically religious life, besides the religious service in the worship and liturgy, has given a very striking and vivid expression to the ministry of service: accompanying immigrants, assisting the dying, nursing during epidemics, instructing the unlettered, healthcare for the poor, etc.  Today religious life is at something of a crossroads, with the vision of the road ahead somewhat unclear.  Whatever the future, that sense of undivided service cannot be lost because the call to serve is the call of the Good Shepherd.

I know many of you, the living stones, who have loved the Church sometimes ponder where we are heading to amid the spiritual carelessness of this world.  You have prayed a lot, so do I.  We wish the cornerstone Jesus would quickly do something to reform the Church and the world, but the progress seems very slow.  Sometimes we feel the absence of Jesus when we face difficulties by ourselves.  It’s worth it to recall the last words of Jesus before he ascended in heaven, “Remember, I am with you to the end of the age” (Mt 28: 20).

This month, May, the month of Mary, is set aside to the devotion to Mary.  It has to be understood within the context of the Easter Season.  During this month, devotions ought to highlight in a special way the sharing of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, her Son, and in the Pentecost event that began the Church’s pilgrim journey.  May Mary pray with us and for us that the spiritual edifice, the Church of Christ, will remain forever because Christ is the cornerstone and each of you is the living stone in that building.  How strong you are in faith will determine how stable the Church is.