First Reading (Acts 6. 1 – 7). Responsorial Psalm 33. Second Reading (1 Peter 2. 4 – 9).
John 14. 1 – 12.
Our theme mid-way through the Easter season is entering into the wonderful light of God. In
Psalm 31, King David commits his spirit to God, and, knowing it is safe in the divine
hands, professes the unfailing love of God. In John 14 we witness Jesus reassuring Thomas that he
already knows the way into the Father’s house – through Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Stephen has a vision of Jesus at the right hand of God at the end of Acts 7, and even as he is
stoned to death, he commits his spirit into Jesus’ hands and asks God to forgive his murderers. In
our sermon passage for today we are told that the only stumbling block on the path to
faith is Jesus himself – and Peter reassures us that, by the Holy Spirit, we have not stumbled,
but rather we have left the darkness and entered into God’s wonderful light.
Peter recalls to his readers how we too have been caught staring into a light we could not escape
from. We have been caught by something good – we’ve been brought out of the darkness and into
the wonderful light of God. And we remain in his light, not because we’re paralyzed or blinded,
but because we have tasted the goodness of God.
Peter continues by telling us that we are being transformed into a spiritual house for the Lord.
Here our attention is drawn to what happens when a healthy group of believers pursue the
goodness of the Lord. When we indulge our spiritual cravings as a community we are built into a
spiritual house in service to God. By being in tune with the Lord, and acting on our spiritual
cravings while in community, we will find ourselves fulfilling our spiritual purpose to praise and
worship God as was always intended!
Our takeaway from this passage is simple, when you feel the urge to further your spiritual life
with God, do not put it off – instead seek the means to fulfill your Spirit-led cravings for time with
God. We do this because of that first taste of God’s goodness, a sign to us that God has prepared
great things for us – as Peter explains in the next verses…
For in Scripture it says: “See, I laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and
whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
“To you then who believe, is precious; but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the
builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and, “A stone that makes them to stumble, and a
rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.But you are a chosen
race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the
mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a
people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have
To explain why we can have confidence in the incredible work of transformation Jesus is
performing in us, Peter draws from Isaiah and the Psalms to contrast the reactions of those who
crave God’s spiritual life vs. the reaction of those who reject that craving. It is the response to
Jesus that distinguishes the two groups. One views him as precious and beautiful, while the other
rejects him as not fit for purpose – Jesus becomes a stumbling block for them.
This idea that Jesus is a stumbling block to those who do not believe is a core part of the
worldview that Peter is calling on believers to adopt. It places Jesus firmly at the centre of our
understanding of the world, a place he must remain in for us to be able to praise God effectively
as we ought.
Christians who engage in apologetics must heed this passage to avoid getting lost in the weeds
when offering the reason for our faith. Jesus is the stumbling block over which those who do not
believe must stumble to reject the love and light of God. There is no sin, no lifestyle and no
worldview that can lead someone to reject the Gospel – rejection of the Gospel requires a
rejection of Jesus. He should be the only stumbling block on the road to faith. Everything else is a
red herring – a distraction used to avoid looking into the light for fear of what it might reveal.
We know that the light of God is a wonderful thing, but that is because we have tasted the
goodness of God. Those who reject the gospel without having had that taste are like toddlers
refusing to even try something, despite their parents assuring them it’s delicious!
For those rejecting Jesus, his light in the darkness is like the shock of a light switched on in the
depth of the night. Most of us have experienced that discomfort. The light is at once
overwhelming and painful. The very thing that lets us see – light – for a brief period takes our
sight away as we lose our night vision and our irises contract to filter out the excess light. To
reject Christ is to experience his startling light and shut tight our eyes, refusing to open them
So then, if Jesus is the chief (and only) stumbling block, what does this mean for those who did
not stumble but instead accepted the gracious goodness of God that we have been given?
Peter tells us that we have been called out of the darkness and into the wonderful light of God. In
his light we are no longer at risk of stumbling, and we are no longer alone. Instead, we are now
part of a group of people defined by God’s mercy and grace.
Peter has been sharing with us the consequences of being a child of God. First, we will begin to
crave the good spiritual life God has prepared for us. And then as we draw closer to God, we will
be built into the community of royal priests in service to God, praising and worshiping him as we
were always intended to do. But if we fear that we are not up to such an esteemed task, he has
good news for us. The fact that we have been able to accept Christ rather than stumble over him is
enough to be sure that we have become part of God’s chosen and precious people.
This passage is one of great encouragement, it is a declaration of the new life God has created for
us in Jesus. A life of worship and praise, a life in community where we fulfil our created purpose.
We have looked into the blinding light of Jesus Christ and come away knowing that he is good.
Now that we are out of the darkness and in his wonderful light, let us enjoy the incredible new life
we have been given.
Acts 6 shows how differences and disputes were resolved in the church’s early days. The
Hellenist (converts whose language was Greek), complained that their widows were not getting a
fair share of the church’s social services. The apostles’ solution to the problem shows how
changes of practice are not only possible but necessary for the health of the church.
The solution shows two important dimensions of church life: prayer and service; and that living
our Christian vocation requires a balance between the two. Each of us is personally called to
prayer, to a dialogue of worship with God; and we are also called to service. No matter what we
do in life, our work affects others in some way. We should be of service to our neighbours; and
provided we have an attitude of respect, no task we do is a menial task. Prayer and preaching the
word was of primary importance to the apostles; but service to the widows and the needy in the
community was also vital, so they appointed seven trusted men to attend to it, and initiated them
by an evocative ceremony.
As a result, the disciples in Jerusalem increased in numbers.. We may wonder how this kind of
growth in the church could be revived in our day. Is the word of the Lord still spreading or the
number of disciples increasing? In St Peter’s letter, the church is imagined as a spiritual temple,
with ourselves as living stones making up a living house of God. Every time we say the Lord’s
Prayer we say ‘thy kingdom come.’ This implies taking some responsibility for spreading the
word and doing something to build up the church? We can work for God’s kingdom by our daily
conduct and attitudes.
The cornerstone of the church is Christ himself, and he offers us encouragement even today. If he
is going away, it is to prepare a place for us in his Father’s house, which has many rooms. So
there is a place for us all in the kingdom. Each person has gifts of nature and grace, each should
have a say in church life, as exemplified by the apostles in the first reading.
Many people today regard faith as irrelevant because their notion of God is faulty or distorted. For
an authentic picture of what God is like, we should look to Jesus who said “I am in the Father and
the Father is in me.” He shows what the invisible Father is like: concerned for all, interested in all,
respecting everyone, calling sinners back home. This welcoming God is the one that our church
worships, and we renew our trust in Him.
Jesus claimed: “I am the Way, the Truth and the life.” How are we to understand this? At least
part of the answer to this depends on who we are: “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy
nation, a people God claims for His own to proclaim the glorious works of the One who called us
from darkness into His marvelous light.” Peter also tells us that we are “living stones, built as an
edifice of spirit, into royal priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus
So, to live means to share in Christ’s priestly office and His redeeming life, including His passion
death and resurrection. Living in Christ also includes living to the fullest of our capacity as
human beings, with eyes, ears, minds and hearts open to joy, to beauty and to truth. It means
never to stop growing mentally and spiritually, never to give up learning, never to cease loving
and never to close our eyes to the splendor of life all around us.
Jesus wants to be our way, our truth, our life, but we have to let Him enter into us. This means
sharing His vision of the entire world reconciled to the Father. It means having His sensitivity for
the plight of the poor, the hungry the aged and the sick.
Once we put our trust in Jesus and accept Him as our Master an Lord, we begin to live by faith.
Faith fosters fellowship. It creates a bond of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. We
become God’s own chosen people. “All those who received Him, He gave them the power to
become children of God” (Jn 1: 12).
It is to live the total Christ in oneself and to give the total Christ to others. It is a method of
growing in intellect, will and heart in order to reach full maturity in Christ, i.e., perfect
configuration with Christ, that Christ may live in us. (Gal 2:20).