Cornerstones, evangelization, and the way to Heaven

TODAY’S FIRST READING (Acts 4:8-12)

Upon hearing this reading I am reminded of the axiom “No good deed goes unpunished” as Peter, flanked by John, responds to the interrogation he is receiving for healing a disabled man. But, since the servant is no better than his Master (see Jn 10:32ff) he certainly must have expected nothing less than this awful treatment. He turns it around for the good, though, as he uses it as an opportunity to evangelize. A good lesson for us, I think. Instead of brooding or discouragement when we receive similar flak, let us be cognizant of Who it is we are seeking to exemplify and let the perpetrators know (as happened to Saul) Who it is really that they are persecuting.

He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
    which has become the cornerstone.

Acts 4:11 (cf. Ps 118:22)

With these words, Peter begins his conclusion of his defense. It is important to note that “[a] chief or head cornerstone is placed above two walls to maintain them together and avoid the building to fall apart” (Wikipedia). Jesus, the “stone rejected,” was cast out of the city of Jerusalem to be killed. Is it any wonder that the Temple’s demise (prophesied by Christ) was assured at Jesus’ death?

Coincidentally, I happened to be listening to Scott Hahn’s study on Mark (today is St Mark’s feast day!) regarding the Temple on my bike ride home from Mass this morning. Hahn tells us that the tearing of the Temple’s sanctuary veil at the death of Jesus ends that edifice as a suitable dwelling place for God. This act of the Father (the curtain was torn from top to bottom) profanes the Temple, making it no longer holy. With the cornerstone discarded is it any wonder that the Temple ultimately collapes in a generation (70 A.D.)?

Last, but not least, Peter’s final words to his captors:

There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved.

Bp Barron does a much better job than I could ever do explicating this verse in his sermon for today (find Lumen Gentium 16 here), but suffice to say that these words of the first pope place a serious obligation on Catholics to evangelize the world. A person can only be saved by Christ. But can a person be saved without being explicitly in the Church or without even being a professed Christian? Yes. But it is not easy. And we are called to more, anyway.

TODAY’S SECOND READING (1 Jn 3:1-2)

See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.

1 Jn 3;1

How blessed we are that Baptism turns us from creatures of God to children of God! Do not miss the opportunity to encourage Christian family and friends to plan this for their children while still in the womb. And, per the first reading, let us look for opportunities to evangelize those outside the Church so they to can call God “Father.”

TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (Jn 10:11-18)
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. All I will suggest as a wonderful exercise is to find all uses of “shepherd” in the Bible and then consider all the famous and not so famous shepherds throughout salvation history in context and what they tell us about the ultimate Shepherd.

(Find here a wonderful message for priest about their shepherding role from Fr Paul Scalia.)

CLASSIC CATHOLIC MEDITATIONS

After nearly four months I have completed my daily meditations from Fr Bede Jarrett, O.P.’s great book. Find my short review here. These are the profound closing words of the book:

{U]nless I take deliberate care, I shall simply copy the life around me. I shall conform to the spirit of the world in which I am immersed. But to achieve that newness of mind whereby I am formed after the fashion of Christ, I must make careful scrutiny of myself, and, contrasting myself with that Divine Model, reform my soul gradually to that perfect pattern.

p. 476

SPEAKER SERIES

We had the fourth of five talks on Thursday, this time featurring Prof Michael Dauphinais, Chairman of Theology at Ave Maria University. See his talk and all the previous ones here. Next month, we close with Mike Aquilina speaking on History’s Queen (guess who that is?). Hope to see you there (sign up here)!

HEAVENLY SONG?

Well, maybe not, but I have been obsessed with if for some time now — not sure why. I do remember listening to it early on while working out mornings at the company gym. One of my favorite Phil Collins songs: Something Happened on the Way to Heaven.

Building Strong Faith Upon Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone

God bless.

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