The changes to our lives since the start of the coronavirus pandemic are startling. There is not one aspect of our lives that has gone untouched and what is even more startling is that all people throughout the world have been touched by this pandemic. All our lives have been changed: physically, spiritually, emotionally and materially. This shared universal experience of suffering has created feelings of insecurity and anxiousness among all people. We are troubled by the effects of the pandemic on our lives and many are overwhelmed feeling they cannot count on the things in their lives that once gave them security.

The coronavirus becomes a stumbling block in our daily lives, but it does not have to become a stumbling block which has to distract us from Jesus Christ, who is our cornerstone on which the foundation of our lives is built. Scripture says, “Behold I am laying a stone in Zion, a cornerstone, chosen and precious, and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.” (1 Peter 2:6) If we embrace the Risen Lord as our cornerstone, then we can truly become living stones which build up the Church of Jesus Christ.

As living stones, we are to be built into a spiritual house of faith and hope that even when we trip over one of those stumbling blocks, we do not fall. 1 Peter 2:5 says, “Let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” What does it mean for us to make a spiritual sacrifice of ourselves to Jesus Christ? By our baptisms we have been anointed by the Holy Spirit to share in the three-fold ministry of Jesus Christ as Priest, Prophet and King. As a people baptized into the common priesthood of Jesus Christ, we are called to sanctify the world by our lives. To offer spiritual sacrifice means to offer our lives, to become living stones which build up the Church of Jesus Christ, for we are, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own.” (1 Peter 2:9)

Those words from 1 Peter 2:4-9 are comforting because we are reminded that we are called from darkness into his wonderful light. Jesus speaks equally comforting words to us today on this Fifth Sunday of Easter in the Gospel of John 14:1-12, “Jesus said to his disciples: Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God, have faith also in me.” This is the living word of God spoken to us today who are this generation’s living stones. These words of comfort assure us that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross has prepared the way for the resurrection of us all. Even though Jesus has prepared the way for eternal life, his disciples were confused by the location of this place that Jesus prepared for them and they did not know yet how to get there, because these words were spoken to his disciples prior to the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“Thomas said to him, Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’ ” (John 14:5-6)

Their understanding of these words would not be fully grasped until after the resurrection, ascension and coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ words call us to enter into the mystery of the Holy Trinity by his response to Philip’s request “to show us the Father.” Jesus said to him, “Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father.” As the Father abides in the Son and the Son abides in the Father, we are drawn into that relationship by the power of the Holy Spirit through the waters of Baptism.

The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles 6:1-7, describes the challenges the early Church community had at times living out the call to be a royal priesthood, holy nation and a people of his own. The early Christian Community had difficulties at times being living stones and those difficulties were lived out in the local community of faith. The 12 responded to these challenges by calling forth those who could serve at table. Those who were chosen became the first deacons of the Church. They brought faith and stability into the daily life of the community. They cared for the widows and orphans. They were living stones that built up the Church upon the cornerstone, Jesus Christ.