Dedication of St. Raphael Cathedral
Scripture Readings: 1 Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17; Mt 16:13-19
In the various readings we have heard this morning, I think the phrase Living Stones has been used at least a dozen times to describe Christians believers. It seems much easier to relate to sheep and goats or weeds and wheat or good fish and bad fish. There is something living and organic about these. Living stones seems an attempt to combine two opposite realities and challenge the principle of contradiction. The more of one, the less of the other. Stones are inanimate, insensate, impermeable, and fixed. Life changes, grows and dies, relates and infiltrates all kinds of being. One or the other, but not both at the same time.
Yet the paradox of the phrase means to give full weight to both terms. It holds them together in a tension that the thinking mind cannot dissolve. It offers a breakthrough that flesh and blood cannot reveal. It opens the door to another level of experience which creates its own rules of combination and union.
God is the builder of His temple and dwelling place of the Spirit. Places and spaces can be invaded by the presence of the Spirit. As embodied creatures, we find ourselves in place. But we are not where we are simply as the result of a haphazard and untraceable series of accidents. We have been placed where we are in accord with a divine plan, working itself out through human choices and actions. Our place is that role, mission, and vocation we have been given (not earned) in life. It is the way in which we are connected and interrelated with the whole of the cosmos being drawn together through the Church. The “definition” of our lives, given by the plan of God working out in our choices, is the living stone related to all the other “stones” in the edifice. One stone does not make a wall, but the wall is not the wall without the stone. The place, the role, the stone we have been given is the occasion and location of our discovering and investing our life energy in the whole.
This discovery and investment take the form of our dedication and commitment to the spirit and gift being revealed in our lives. Our bodies and lives are living paradoxes where God and humanity, heaven and earth, time and eternity, the Holy and the sinful meet. The Spirit dwelling in us continues the on-going building up of a form which gives life and communion to all its parts.