Fourth Easter: Union with the Cornerstone


            A while back I read George Weigel’s The Cube and the Cathedral.  Honestly, I do read books other than those by George Weigel.  It is just that after Witness to Hope, God’s Chosen, and Letters to a Young Catholic, I hear Weigel speaking closely to me.  Anyway, in the Cube and the Cathedral, George Weigel speaks about how the leaders of Europe delight in eliminating all reference to Christianity.  Fifteen hundred years that built up the foundation of Europe has been rejected by the so called intelligentsia of Europe.  They go so far as to consider themselves “Post Christianity”. 


            Shortly after that I attended the graduation ceremonies of a prominent Catholic University.  During the Baccalaureate Mass, the priest giving the homily very correctly commended the graduating seniors for reaching out to the poor and hurting in the community.  He spoke about how this shows that they understood and put into practice the  ideals of service to fellow man and woman.  I’m sure Christianity was implied, but it was never acknowledged. In fact, Jesus never made an appearance anywhere in the homily, or in the invocation before the graduation the next morning. There was no  reference to Matthew 25, “As often as you did this for the least of my brothers, you did it for me.”  The charity of these young people was disparaged.  Instead of Christian action, it has been reduced to secular humanism.


            What is wrong with this?   Well, if Jesus is not the foundation of our lives, we have no foundation.  And we have no life, at least, none worth living. 


            The question we all need to ask ourselves is: Do we want the Cornerstone?  Do we want Jesus?  Or have we fallen for the blasphemy of the DaVinci code, and become Arians–people who reduce Jesus to a good man, but not the Son of God and not the foundation on which to build our lives.


            If we are determined to be like everyone else in our  society, at least society as presented by the media and the so called academia intelligentsia, then we will not sense any need for Christ.  We live in a society that focuses heavily on self-interest, and on self-gratification.  For example, when someone is asked for his or her help, the question that many respond with is, “What do I get in return?”  This is not the way of the Christian.


            The only concern of the Christian is Jesus Christ.


            Peter lays this out clearly in the first reading for this Sunday from the Acts of the Apostles. Peter, the disciple who denied the Lord, was radically changed by the experience of the Risen Lord. No longer was he focusing on himself.  He realized that the meaningful in life did not revolve around him or the other disciples. In the reading a crippled man was healed.  But Peter is adamant that the crowds know that this was the work of Jesus, not the work of Peter.   It was in the name of Jesus that the man was able to get up and walk.  Everything worthwhile is about Jesus.  It must be the same for us. We have been called to proclaim that the Glory of God is present in the world.  Jesus is this Glory.  He is the Way the Truth and the Life.  He must be the Cornerstone of our lives.


            It’s all about Jesus.  It’s all about you, Jesus.


            There is a cost, though.  Sure, when we preach the good news, when we stand up for Jesus, we are often accepted by others  who, like us, wish to change the world.  But we are also rejected by many who want nothing to do with Jesus, His Way, or His Life.  Have others  asked you to join them in something that is against the Life of Jesus within you? Have you ever had to say, “No”. No to drugs.  No to alcohol.  No to sex outside of marriage.   No to gossip. No to destroying someone’s reputation.  No to excluding someone from the love of the community.  No to cheating, lying, stealing.  And when you and I do say “No”, what happens? Quite often, you and I are  rejected by others.  We need to pray for these people. They are not just rejecting us.  They are rejecting the Lord. The stone rejected is Jesus.  We live for Jesus.  We share His Life, His Love.  We also share His rejection, His crucifixion.  We also share in His recreation of the world into the Kingdom of God.


            All this is also reflected in today’s gospel, the gospel of the Good Shepherd.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  He offers Himself up completely for His people.  The hired man doesn’t care, but the Good Shepherd does care.  He does not count the cost.  Nor is He concerned with what He is going to get for Himself.  Selfishness is never a factor in the Divine Equation.  Jesus loves us so much that He gives all for us.  And then He calls us to give this same love to everyone.


            So, are we Post Christian?  Absolutely not.  In fact, we, the young of the Church whether we are 8, 18 or 88, we have made it abundantly clear to the so called intelligentsia of the world that we are diametrically opposed to being beyond Jesus.  We are united to Jesus Christ.  We will proclaim His presence with our  lives. And yes, we know that because we are united to the stone that was rejected, we also will share in that rejection.  But we also know that the stone rejected is the Cornerstone.


            He and He alone is our life.  In the name of Jesus Christ the world is healed.  In the name of Jesus Christ, we are healed.