a cornerstone, chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.
Saint Peter quotes Isaiah 28:16, Psalm 118:22, and Isaiah 8:14 in this marvelous passage about Jesus, the rock of our faith. He has returned the favor to the Lord who named him Peter, meaning rock. With these three passages, he describes Jesus as a cornerstone, a stone rejected and a stumbling stone.
Cornerstone: Saint John's Gospel insistently and persistently points us toward Jesus: the way, the truth and the life. There is no direction, purpose or life without him; there is, as we heard two weeks ago, only futility:
conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning,realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct,handed on by your ancestors,A stone rejected: The authors of the New Testament were continually astonished that "he came unto his own and his own did not receive him." They saw in this rejection the opening to the gentiles. The Gospel could not be frustrated; it could not depend upon the acceptance of any race or nationality; but it must go out to all the earth. There would be no waiting or delay while certain authorities or a specific group embraced the Truth. They recalled Jesus' parables of the wedding banquet when the invited refused to come but the unwashed and despised rushed to fill their places.
A stumbling stone: Until the End of Time the crucifixion of Jesus will remain as a bitter pill to swallow. Not only is it disgraceful that the Son of God should die in ignominious shame; it's even more appalling that we should "take up our crosses and follow" in his way of humility. In this world people struggle first to make ends meet and then to get ahead. Jesus tells them, "Come to me all you who labor and find life wearisome; I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
"How could his cross be light?" they demand. Only when we have actually surrendered our lives to him, and taken up our allotted crosses do we realize how much easier his way, truth and life are. And then we wonder why it took us so long to come around!
This stone is chosen and precious. It is a rock of ages cleft for me. It gleams like a precious gem, it sparkles like diamonds. We see in his brilliance the face of our Father.