“Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The very stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.’” (Mt 21: 42-43)

This conversation of our Lord with the chief priests and elders, about Him becoming the “cornerstone,” takes place in the Jerusalem Temple, built of stones. Christ indicates that He is the “stone” that they, “the builders” of Orthodox religious life at that time, centered in the Temple-built-of-stones, “rejected.”

Where, in what kind of “building,” has Christ become a “cornerstone”? It is not in the Jerusalem Temple, destroyed in AD 70. It is in us, who are invited to be “temples” of the Living God, in the New Covenant that no longer centers on any stone-buildings, but in our hearts. As much as we do love and cherish our church-buildings, and lament their destruction, – as did the Jews in AD 70, and as did we the recent devastation of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, – I’m reminded in the above-quoted passage that our stone-buildings are “symbols,” albeit powerful ones, but no more and no less, than of the actual “building project” Christ has inaugurated in our hearts, now called to do what no lifeless “stone” can do, and that is, to “produce the fruits” of the kingdom of God. As Jesus says to the Samaritan woman, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. …But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (Jn 4: 21, 23-24) So, our “worship” of God is not destroyed when the “symbols” thereof are, in the form of stone-buildings. We are, rather, as I’m thinking today, called to re-embrace the invisible “cornerstone” of our hearts, our Lord Jesus Christ, “in Spirit and truth,” when/if His visible stone-symbols are destroyed. “This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

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