We are the royal and priestly people
Readings: 1st: Acts 6: 1-7; Ps 32: 1-2. 4-5. 18-19; 2nd: 1 Pt 2: 4-9; Gos Jn 14: 1-12)
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this 5th Sunday of Easter, the Church reminds us of whom we are: “The chosen race and the royal priesthood, who would be and reign with Christ. Today we have gathered to exercise our royal priesthood by offering a spiritual sacrifice as Christ did.
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In today’s first reading, the drama that unfolded led to the election of seven deacons to take care of the social needs of the believers. We can learn the following lessons from this reading. First, we must not neglect or take our communities’ social or material needs for granted. If left unattended, they could undermine the work of God.
Second, we must balance our spiritual and material needs because both are important. Third, we must not forget who we are or neglect our primary calling. Peter rightly noted that the mundane should not distract us from our mission and vocation: “It would not be right for us to neglect the word of God to give out food. We will hand over this duty and devote ourselves to prayer and the service of the word of God.”
The spiritual will undoubtedly suffer if we pay too much attention to material needs. We cannot do everything by ourselves. We must let others play their role by helping us. Finally, we must be wise and prayerful in selecting ministers for God’s mission. They must be “men of good reputation, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom.”
In the second reading, Peter reminds us of who we indeed are: “A chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God.” Here, Peter highlights our participation in the priesthood of Christ through the “common or general priest priesthood.” This is undoubtedly by our baptism (CCC1268). Baptism configures us to become “priests.”
Thus, in this pastoral letter, Peter highlights the efficacy of the “Sacraments of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation) on us as believers. Through this, he reminds us of our priestly and royal heritage. He equally calls us to live it out in a proper manner. In order words, if we set ourselves close to Christ, our chief priest, we shall live up to expectations. That is, by offering acceptable sacrifices to God. Through this, we become pleasing to God and a spiritual house for God.
In today’s gospel, Jesus assures us of a place in his kingdom: “Let not your hearts be troubled. There are many rooms in my father’s house, so where I am, you may be too.” This indicates that by baptism, we are indeed children of God. This is why he considers us worthy of being where he will be.
Unfortunately, many of us do not know who we are or believe there is a beautiful place prepared for us by Christ. This is also the reason many of us cannot maximize our priestly and royal potential. As priests and people of royal descent, we must assert ourselves positively. It takes faith to do this.
Therefore, let us ask God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to help us live as members of the royal priesthood. Also, during this glorious and gracious season of Easter, let us: “Rejoice in the Lord” for what God has done for us. Alleluia, alleluia!
Peace be with you all!