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 | By Bishop Earl Boyea

We Are All Members of the Household of Faith

What is our first act of worship on Sunday? Can you believe it is that opening of the church door and walking into that space? We never worship God alone. Rather, it is as the Body of Christ, the Assembly, that we act with Jesus as our Head.

I have been reflecting on this idea for a while. Many of us have been watching Mass in our homes due to COVID. And thanks be to God that this has been available, especially for our homebound, for those whose health is compromised and for those unable to take the vaccine. Many of our parishes and pastors have gone beyond the call of duty and generously provided these services for our people. Thanks be to them as well. It has also been brought to my attention that a number of people have responded to God’s call and have joined the Church due to watching these Masses. So, clearly, these broadcasts are an evangelizing act.

Nonetheless, when we are back in church, and I pray that is happening for more and more of our folks, let us think about what happens as we leave our cars and walk up to those doors. We are not just entering a building. We are stepping into a holy place, a sanctuary.

St. Peter tells us that we are to come to Jesus who is a living stone and, “like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pt 2:5)

He adds, quoting Exodus 19, “But you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises’ of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Pt 2:9)

The Scriptures always talk about us as a people. We signal this as we dip our finger in the Holy Water and make the sign of the cross. Because it is as baptized Christians that we are able to be those living stones joined together in the House of God. Certainly, we are individuals who respond to God’s call, but we are also members of the community of the Household of Faith at the very same time.

We are the Assembly of Jesus Christ. When the priest and servers process up the aisle, they are symbolically doing what each of us have done as we entered the church. It is a procession, a pilgrimage together on the way, which engages all of us. So, sisters and brothers, let our first act of worship be a more conscious walk into that assembly knowing that we belong there and that all the others present belong to us, as well as belong to Christ.