The cornerstone of life

By Fr. Mark Vander Steeg | October 2, 2014

The parables of Jesus are very much his own. They are the fruit of his prayer, reflection and his study of the Old Testament writings. One of the writings that seems to have inspired today’s parable is this selection from Isaiah. Israel was envisioned by God as being the chosen vineyard that would bear good grapes and a sweet wine for the Lord, that is, they would be a people worthy to be called his own. Isaiah announces the Lord’s judgment on Israel stating that they have instead produced wild grapes and have allowed his vineyard to be overgrown with thorns and briers and thus they will come to ruin. The Lord will need to begin again. The psalmist is aware of Israel’s need and cries out to the Lord asking him to come and visit this vineyard and bring with him their needed renewal.

Jesus sees himself as the visitation of the Lord to the vineyard of Israel. He comes calling it to renewal and restoration. Knowing the hostility of the leaders of Israel to his presence and message, he prophesizes that they will reject and kill him. He will be like the stone rejected for its seeming unsuitability, which ironically will become the cornerstone of the new creation, the new vineyard, the broader and new Israel of the church. God brings forth fruit and renewal in the most unlikely of places.

Our own personal life stories are very much paralleled with the story of Israel. Each of us, at times, has allowed the briers and thorns of our lives to overtake us. We can recall the wild grapes they produced that did little to give praise to God. We have felt the restlessness of a life lived in disunion with God and have cried out like the psalmist asking God to return to us and visit this vine of ourselves that he has planted. God is faithful and he will always return. Paul gives insight as to how to open this pathway for God’s return in the second reading. He writes, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, just, pure, lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence … anything worthy of praise, think about these things … and then the God of peace will be with you.”
From our hearts then, as Christ says, springs all human action, whether good or evil.

From them springs a vineyard worthy of God in thought, word and deed. It all begins here. It is within the heart that we also find aspects of ourselves that we may wish to throw out and reject. Ironically it is often these areas that end up driving us to God. It is here that we realize our great need for God. These areas become the cornerstone of a life lived dependent on God and not our own might. “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?” Seeing the rejected stone as the cornerstone takes time. Hindsight is indeed 20/20, and this is very true in the spiritual life. Where in your life is a stone that you would sooner reject but is actually driving you into a deeper dependence on God? Could this be a stone that God could use for a spiritual renewal? Could it become the cornerstone of a more beautiful life with God?

Fr. Vander Steeg is pastor of St. Bernard Parish, Green Bay.

Related Posts

Scroll to Top