In the Second Reading St. Peter addressed us Christians, saying, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a people God has set apart.”
I hope you recognize that quotation. It is what God said to Moses in Exodus Nineteen when he proposed making the Jews his Chosen People. He said that if they entered into that covenant with God they would be his Chosen People. So, by repeating those words Peter was telling us we are God’s new Chosen People.
In calling us God’s chosen people Peter was not only saying that we all have a deep relationship with God. He was also saying that as one people, we have a deep relationship with each other, and with all Christians. When you attend the same Mass year in and year out you begin feeling kinship with the other people there, even though you never talk.
That notion of us Christians being one people was repeatedly brought home to me by an old man in Korea. Domingo’s only clothing was his traditional baggy white pants and knee length white smock. He had a one-room house by the sea, and his only reading material was the Korean version of Cardinal Gibbon’s book “Faith of Our Fathers.” John Chang, who followed Syngman Rhee as Korean president, had written his Korean version of Faith of Our Fathers when he was a student in the States. In Korean he called it Kyo-puteri Shinang.
Domingo had made his living weaving stiff pony tail hairs into those hats Korean gentlemen wore to protect their top knots. Unfortunately all of the right kind of ponies were in North Korea, so Domingo’s livelihood sagged after the South was cut off from the North. He occupied himself making sieves for grain.
Domingo wasn’t much of a talker, but anytime I was in conversation with him he would bring up the matter of our brother and sister Catholics in the States, asking what they thought about things. More than anyone else I have ever known, Domingo saw us as one family: a “chosen people, a royal race.”
One place where that kinship comes up is in our Baptism ceremony. After we pour the water on the children or adults we anoint them with chrism, telling them that since they have been Baptized into Christ Jesus, they have become genuine sharers in his kingship, in his priesthood, and his prophetic ministry