GN 37: 3-4, 12-13A, 17-28A
PS 105: 16-17, 18-19, 20-21
MT 21: 33-43, 45-46
“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone…”
Today's readings paint a picture of fear, jealousy, uncertainty, and rejection. Feelings that were just as common for the people of Jesus’ time as they are for people in today’s world. It is clear that we live in such tumultuous and fearful times. Today, people from all walks of life often fail to seek understanding, and rather, live in separate and isolated worlds defined by misconceptions and false ideas about others whom we do not see eye to eye with. However, while I do not believe that the average person motivated by fear or jealousy will be throwing any of their friends or siblings into a cistern anytime soon, there is something fundamentally important that we ought to draw from both the first reading and the Gospel passage.
In the first a reading, a group of jealous brothers throw their own brother, Joseph, into a pit, and leave him there to die. In the Gospel passage, we hear Jesus tell a story about a group of tenants who murder all of their master’s servants, as well as the master’s son, simply out of a personal and selfish desire to acquire the master’s inheritance. Both of these stories paint a picture of rejection, foreshadowing the rejection of Christ Himself by mankind. But they also inform us in our modern world about what happens when we allow fear and uncertainty to become the most significant influences within our human life. Still too commonly, we see people rejecting other human persons because they look or think differently. The motivation for this is fear. Fear, in this context, is the absence of Love because it represents the basis from which God Himself was rejected in the world. Fear and uncertainty, ultimately, provide the temptation to reject Love, understanding, empathy, and compassion in our world.
Christ calls on all of us to reflect upon the times when we have acted out of fear or uncertainty rather than love and understanding. Today, in the midst of a polarized and divided society, this is becoming ever more important every single day. As Christians, we must motivate others to look beyond their differences, prejudices, and misunderstandings in order to act out of love rather than fear. Let us speak to others with such understanding, even when it feels impossibly difficult. Let us see others whom we do not understand through the lens of such love and empathy, that they too might arrive at a deeper solidarity with others. This is the cornerstone of our human life.
Scott Hoener is a first-year student in the School of Medicine.