“There are many rooms in my Father’s house”, so declares Jesus, in his farewell speech, in John 14:2. What does he mean by “rooms” and “Father’s house”? When today’s gospel text is read during a funeral liturgy, we jump quickly to the conclusion that there are many places in heaven. And that Jesus ascended into heaven to prepare a place for each one of us. And that he will come back and take each one of us to heaven. We conclude that he has come back and taken the deceased.

The Mass we are celebrating today is not a funeral Mass. So, I am inviting you to meditate with me on the explanation given by a Bible scholar called Fernando Armellini. In his book titled “Celebrating the Word, Year A”, page 122, he writes, and I quote:
“When we have accepted to follow the ‘way’ of Jesus, we find ourselves in the house of the Father, that is, in the Christian community.
It has many places, that is, many ministries or services; there are many ways of using the gift of one’s life. The ‘many rooms’ are nothing else than the ‘different ministries,’ the different concrete situations where all of us have possibility of using our capabilities in the service of the brothers and sisters. … The best place or ‘room’ is the one where we can best serve our fellows.”

This explanation helps us to understand the second and first readings. In the second reading (1 Pet 2:4-9), Peter compares the Church (God’s house) to a spiritual building. “The builder is God and the building material is made up not of clay bricks but of living stones, human persons. … all those who have accepted Christ and have been baptized, they form together with Christ this new and great spiritual house” (ibidem p. 120) of God, that is, the Father’s house. This new temple, made of living stones, replaces the old temple made of material stones. In this new house of the Father, all the baptized are priests chosen to offer holy sacrifices of service to God and to one another in different ministries.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters: We are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that we may announce the praises’ of him who called us. (cf.: 1 Pet 2:9). Each one of us is expected to have a ministry, a role to play in God’s house, the Church. As Saint Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 12, we are parts of the same body of Christ, the Church. Each part is expected to play a role, so that the entire Church may function well.

In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles (6:1-7), we have heard of the seven men who were elected to distribute goods to the poor widows, while the apostles concentrated on preaching the word of God. What is your place/room or ministry in the Church? Altar server? Reader? Cantor? Musician? Sacristan? Cleaner? Florist? Gardener? Catechist? Usher? Live streamer? Council or committee member? Missionary? Father or mother raising children for the Church? How do you play that role? Are you fully active? Jesus gives us his body and blood to strengthen us to play our roles in the Church and community at large.

Homework: The Book of Proverbs in the Bible Chapter 31:10-31