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Saturday, 25 October 2014

On Being Living Stones--For The Perfecting of The Saints Mini-Series Continued

One of today's readings reminded me of an upcoming feast, which I want to emphasize. Here is the entire chapter of today's first reading. One body, one building, one Church and we are all part of that Church, not mere by-standers watching things happen around us, supposedly out of our control.

First, the section which included today's epistle selection:

Ephesians 4 Douay-Rheims

I therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called,
With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity.
Careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling.
One Lord, one faith, one baptism.
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all.

The Plague Chapel
But to every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the giving of Christ.
Wherefore he saith: Ascending on high, he led captivity captive; he gave gifts to men.
Now that he ascended, what is it, but because he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.
11 And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors,
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ;
14 That henceforth we be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive.
15 But doing the truth in charity, we may in all things grow up in him who is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly joined together, by what every joint supplieth, according to the operation in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body, unto the edifying of itself in charity.
17 This then I say and testify in the Lord: That henceforward you walk not as also the Gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts.
19 Who despairing, have given themselves up to lasciviousness, unto the working of all uncleanness, unto the working of all uncleanness, unto covetousness.
20 But you have not so learned Christ;
21 If so be that you have heard him, and have been taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 To put off, according to former conversation, the old man, who is corrupted according to the desire of error.
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind:
24 And put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth.
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbour; for we are members one of another.
26 Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger.
27 Give not place to the devil.
28 He that stole, let him now steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need.
29 Let no evil speech proceed from your mouth; but that which is good, to the edification of faith, that it may administer grace to the hearers.
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God: whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and anger, and indignation, and clamour, and blasphemy, be put away from you, with all malice.
32 And be ye kind one to another; merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ.

The NO Mass in the church I attend during the week is celebrating on November 9th, The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, which I am anticipating early for several reasons.

The readings including the Collect which refers to us as living stones. who have been chosen by God, to build up the Church of Christ.

Now, for a stone to be a strong part of a building, this stone must be "true", without cracks, sturdy, reliable in the hands of the builder.

A stone just "is".  A stone, and I am living in a country for a while which uses stone for every building, does not need to decide whether it will be used. The quarry man cuts it out of the earth and the builder buys it, choosing the best and most appropriate for the building he has in mind.

Many stones make a building. New buildings rise up daily here and old ones are rebuilt. On my way home daily from Mass, I pass two houses being re-built and the stones masons work diligently to finish before the rainy season begins.

Surrounded by building, I think that few Catholics really, truly take their role as living chosen stones seriously.

Some, in fact, allow themselves to become useless, so cracked as to be tossed away.

I see fragments in the street here, from stones which will be carried away to be used for landfill or streets, but not a building.

If the building is strong, it is because each stone is strong.

The lay persons are the stones.

In the reading from Ezechiel, the prophet has a vision of water flowing from the right side of the temple. Of course, we immediately and should think of Christ's wound on the Cross, when His Body was pierced, blood and water flowing out as signs of life for us, signs of baptism.

Fish and living creatures live in this stream in the prophet's vision. Christ feeds His Church with His Body and Blood. But, the locus of the stream is the Temple, a sign of the Church.

Again, if the Temple is fertile, so are others, being fed from the Church.

The water, states Ezechiel, comes from the sanctuary. But, that is part of the Temple of the living stones.

In the New Testament reading, St. Paul, in whose footsteps I walk daily, if not spiritually, physically, calls himself an "architect".  St. Paul writes that each one of us is part of the Temple, and living in the Holy Spirit. He refers to those who would destroy this temple, and that God will destroy whoever tries to destroy His Church.

Are we cooperating with the apostle's heirs in letting ourselves be made holy?  Do we aid in destroying the temple through gossip, passing on scandal, antagonism, even hatred, and especially, pride?

In the Gospel, we see Christ cleansing the Temple of the businessmen and money-changers who infiltrted His Holy Place.

Of course, the Sanhedrin was making a profit from this business. So Christ's overturning the stalls and tables is not merely an attack on those individuals running those booths, but on the establishment which had become corrupted by greed and the seeking of power and status.

Sound familiar?

Sounds like this past week in Rome, wherein personal egos got in the way of God's Holy Temple worship.

I address the living stones. Be holy. The Church needs holy saints. Christ will come and cleanse the Temple, His Church.

Will you be part of the remnant or not? Do not complain if the Church seems weak.  Make it strong.

You cannot make perfect something if you are not perfected. To be continued...

Ezechiel 47; 1-2; 8-9; 12
1 Corinthians 3:9-11; 16-17
John 2:13-22