Saturday, August 30, 2008

Be living stones, not stumbling blocks

Saint Peter, inspired by the Heavenly Father, was a rock foundation for the Church when he confessed that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Now, instead, he knows the poverty of rebuke; he now serves only as an obstacle to salvation, a stumbling stone to trip the Lord and frustrate His path to Calvary.

Reborn in the sacrament of Baptism to share the Lord's life, it thus becomes our destiny to also share His Cross. Whether our crosses are the result of our own sins and failings or those of someone else, they remain ours to bear. Only in the Lord can life come from death. Only in the Lord's cross can our crosses become redemptive.

It thus remains our task to open ourselves to the Father's inspiration that we might bear our crosses uncomplainingly so that they will lead to the reward of eternal life. Borne in solidarity with the Lord's cross, in serenity and confidence flowing from trust in the Father's love, our via dolorosa becomes easier and we grow in servant love. The image and person of Christ through grace becomes a lived reality in our minds and hearts.

We each bear our crosses so that the fullness of His eternal Life and Love may be ours. The life of grace is serenity in bearing the cross in the full confidence that the reward of eternal joy will be ours in God whose love is stronger than death.

"Dying He destroyed our death, rising He restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory!" we cry out as we behold the Crucified One raised up in the hands of the priest, triumphant in the sacred Host of our communion at holy Mass. He goes before us to show us the way, the Cross leads us to Life!

It yet remained for Saint Peter to become a most wonderful and living stone, the foundation of the Church, in a marvelous configuration to the Lord's Cross through his martyrdom at Rome. Be not stumbling blocks of scandal in the path toward Christ. Be, rather, living stones building up the spiritual edifice of the Church!

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy offers a reflection for the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time.

(Martyrdom of St Peter, Masaccio,1426. Egg tempera on panel, Berlin, Staatliche Museum)

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