A Spiritual House: I Peter 2:1-10

Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, insincerity, envy, and all slander; like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation, for you have tasted that the Lord is good. Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, 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. For it says in scripture: “Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion, a cornerstone, chosen and precious, and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.” Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone that will make people stumble, and a rock that will make them fall.” They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny.  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. Once you were “no people” but now you are God’s people; you “had not received mercy” but now you have received mercy. 

At the beginning of this second chapter of Peter’s letter, we are commanded to rid ourselves of certain actions:

  1. malice: a desire to see others suffer or to harm others
  2. deceit: causing someone to believe what is not true
  3. insincerity: being hypocritical
  4. envy: combines resentment and desire, resenting the good fortune of another and desiring to have what they have
  5. slander: malicious statements or reports of others

You would think these actions would be “no brainers” in how not to act as a Christian. Why would Peter feel his readers would need reminding of this? Maybe from his own experience, knowing how easily and suddenly we can fall into past patterns, particularly if we are not allowing the Holy Spirit to build us up into a spiritual house. As strong and as bold as Peter was, he had his moments of weakness as well. We all do. And like Peter we must repent and press forward, continuing in our faith journey.

Again, we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit in letting ourselves be built into this spiritual house. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states:

Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.” The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.”
The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, “each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ.” While being “ordered one to another,” they differ essentially. In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace –—a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit—, the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. The ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.

So we see that this in no way nullifies the function of the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood, for it is at the service of the common priesthood. One of the statements I often heard during my conversion to the Catholic Church was, “They don’t believe in the priesthood of the believer.” That is just another example of the misinformation that abounds about Christ’s Church.

Anyway, the ministerial priesthood provides the faithful the knowledge and discipline they need on how to offer spiritual sacrifices, the first and foremost being our lives, completely and totally. When we’ve done this we can seek God’s will for our lives, one which is mentioned here; so that you may announce the praise of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

So this week, let us live as a holy priesthood unto God. Ministering to our family, friends and communities as our spiritual act of worship (Rom. 12:1). In so doing, let us seek deeper His will in our lives (Rom.12:2, Eph. 1:11,12, I Thes. 4:3, 5:18, I Tim. 2:4, Heb. 10:36-39). And I Peter 2:15, which we will look at next week, God willing.



2 Responses

  1. ‘Once you were “no people” but now you are God’s people’

    Thank the Lord for this. I wouldn’t want to go through this life without my faith… It makes me feel quite blessed to have an understanding of God and this has been made more concrete in the last few weeks. Where and who would I be if God had not placed me in a home of faith? Would I be floating around in a world of unanswered questions?

    Sometimes I wonder, why do some understand faith easily while others don’t get it at all? And why do they call this “open-minded” when, in reality, they are SO close-minded that they cannot grasp even an inkling of faith?

    This was a timely post… although the passage spoke differently to me than your main idea… 🙂

  2. That’s the beauty of God’s word isn’t it? It says the same thing, yet in different ways and different times.

    Thanks Amber!

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