Grace to you!
The Church celebrates the feast of Saints Simon and Jude, who were among the twelve apostles of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As we celebrate their lives and holiness, may I use this opportunity to reflect on how our faith as Church is built on the foundation of the Apostles, and Jesus as the capstone.
Ephesians 2:19-22 presents a beautiful architectural picture. Reading it, I am fascinated by the imagery employed by the writer, Saint Paul, in describing the Church. Paul was writing as if a builder or an architect. I bet builders and architects would connect with the imagery at a heartbeat.
Envision a structure of a building named Church. The building is laid on 12 supporting pillars (plus another, representing Saint Paul, making it 13 pillars). But the capstone, a huge, strong pillar that “holds everything in being” (Colossians 1:13) is Jesus Christ himself.
As I reflect on this story, my memory flashes back to Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. I picture the imposing sculptures of Maderno’s Façade, about 376.3 ft. wide and 149.4 ft. tall. The masterpiece is built of the durable limestone called travertine, with imposing Corinthian columns balanced by a central pediment which stood strategically high before a tall attic on top of which are 13 beautiful statues. The statue of Jesus is flanked by eleven other Apostles and John the Baptist.
I also visualize the gigantic statues of Saints Peter and Paul flanking left and right of the entrance stairs of the Basilica. These depict the Apostles as the foundation of the Christian faith well structured at the middle circumference of the St. Peter’s Square. This structure is built into a living temple where you and I are welcome as (or to become) members. The imagery suggests this Church has a foundation. It isn’t simply built on an individual’s private intuition or revelation.
The Lord Jesus Christ established the Church on the foundation of his Apostles while he is the capstone. The foundation isn’t going to crumble in time. It didn’t crumble during the first persecutions of the faith caused by Herod, the havocs caused by Nero and numerous others in history; neither will it crumble now.
It has passed hundreds of years; and as one person said, even some of its members have tried to destroy it from within, but it has always come off stronger than ever. This is because the foundation is the apostles and the capstone, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has assured its leadership, “The gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).
The gates of the netherworld may try to destroy the Church, but it would not be able to do so since Christ, the Word of God and the head of the Church, is its chief cornerstone. No one would be able to destroy the Church, not even its leadership. The trusted apostle Judas, who later became a traitor, couldn’t; neither could the first pope Peter’s betrayals stop the Lord and his Church. Christ is in charge of his Church and he never fails.
The relevance of this understanding to us who are believers, and to many who are future believers, is huge. There is the confident trust that no matter what the circumstances are today, the misunderstanding, the misrepresentation and even the scandals witnessed within the Church—no matter all the attacks from within and outside of the Church—“The Lord of host is with us, the God of Jacob is our stronghold.” Trust in the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ, “I will be with you always till the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).
Being a member of Christ’s body established on this solid foundation is the best place to be. If you are a believer, be grateful. Cherish what you have.
May Saint Jude, who is the patron of hopeless cases, pray for us so we will be reassured of God’s providence in our desperate situations. Amen. May the zeal of Saint Simon inspire us to fall in love with the faith of the Church built on the pillars of the Apostles. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.