Bishop Thomas Gumbletonby Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace

As we listen to today’s scripture lessons, one of the most important parts for us to reflect upon is the part where Peter is standing before the Sanhedrin, the religious leaders of God’s people, and declares to them, “You and all the people of Israel must know that this cripple stands before you, cured through the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene. You had him crucified yet God raised him from the dead. So Jesus is the stone rejected by you, the builders. This stone has become the cornerstone.”

These are harsh words that Peter is saying to those Jewish religious leaders. He’s telling them, “You have rejected the very one on whom God’s whole temple, the living temple of God’s people, is built. You have rejected the cornerstone of this building of God’s people.” Now when we hear that harsh judgment — I know this is true of myself — I want to say, “How could they not have known? How could they not have wanted to accept Jesus as the foundation stone?”

I give myself, and I think many of us do this — we certainly haven’t rejected Jesus, and yet I wonder. It makes me think of the parable that Jesus told during his public life, the parable about the two sons. The father had given them a task to carry out. The one son says, “Oh, yes, of course. I will do it right away,” and then he goes off and actually doesn’t do it. The other son says, “No, I’m not going to do that,” but then he goes off and evidently thinks it over and decides, “Yes, I will do it.”

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