“Jesus said to them, ‘Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes?’ Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.…” (Mt 21: 41-42)
I’m thinking about this somewhat sad passage today, when our New-Calendar friends are celebrating the great feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Jesus is speaking of Himself as the “stone” rejected by the “builders“ (cf. Psalm 117/118:22-23). By “builders” in this context He means the Pharisees and teachers of the Jews, who rejected Him and His way; the way of the cross.
But in our context we are all “builders,” called to build our “house” on the firm foundation, on the “stone” or “rock” of the eternal Logos or Word of God: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them,” He says, “will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” (Mt 7: 24) Whether as individual persons, or as a family, or a community, or as a people, we are “builders” faced with a daily choice of our foundation. We can choose the Kingdom of God, where a crucified and risen Lord is King, or we can choose something else, - some surrogate to prop us up, so to say. We can choose to build our own kingdom, as did the Pharisees, who preferred a Christ-less orthodoxy, their own orthodoxy, to a crucified Messiah.
In practical terms this means, among other things, that I choose, on a daily basis, to gratefully set my focus and reliance on a crucified and risen Lord. And I ask for the grace of His Spirit to carry with me His life-giving cross throughout my day.