Today’s gospel is Matthew 21:33-43. At the end of this parable, Jesus says, “Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
So what is the “head of the corner,” aka the cornerstone? I looked it up.
Dictionary.com described “cornerstone” as
- a stone uniting two masonry walls at an intersection.
- a stone representing the nominal starting place in the construction of a monumental building, usually carved with the date and laid with appropriate ceremonies.
- something that is essential, indispensable, or basic: The cornerstone of democratic government is a free press.
- the chief foundation on which something is constructed or developed: The cornerstone of his argument was that all people are created equal.
Each of these definitions applies to Jesus as the cornerstone of the Church – the body of Christ, not a building.
The first definition makes me think of Jesus as uniting the Jews and Gentiles of His time. At that time, Jewish people would have nothing to do with Gentiles and regarded them as unclean. It is true that the Hebrew people had the original covenant as God’s Chosen People. Jesus showed them that although they were His chosen people, God loves everyone and calls us all to be holy and have faith in Him. Each group is a wall, and Jesus is the one thing to build on, the one thing which we can all agree.
The second definition reminds me that our entire faith, the way we live our lives, the way our Church is in the world is all in relationship to the fact that Jesus came to earth to be our Savior. Without Him, we wouldn’t have a place to start.
The third definition tells us that Jesus is essential, indispensable, and basic. The words “essential” and “indispensable” actually mean “absolutely necessary.” Jesus is absolutely necessary to our individual spiritual lives and to our collective lives in the Church. Jesus is our moral and ethical guide. The word “basic” means “forming an essential foundation or starting point; fundamental.” As Christians, Jesus should be our starting point for every decision we ever make.
The fourth definition also applies to both our individual spiritual lives as well as to building the Church. He is our rock and our foundation. He is strong even when we aren’t. When there is any question of morals or faith, we can turn to Christ. Prayer becomes our lifeline, and He is always faithful to His promises.
Is Jesus the true cornerstone of your life?