From the Pulpit: May 14, 2017

May 14, 2017 Fifth Sunday of Easter

Introduction – cornerstone
Many public buildings have a special stone called a cornerstone.
➢ Traditionally the cornerstone marks the beginning date of construction and contains some memorabilia and souvenirs that date back to that date that it is put in place.
➢ More often than not, in recent years, the cornerstone is an ornamental piece.
➢ Maybe you never have noticed the cornerstone for St. Patrick’s.
➢ It is written in Roman numerals and was placed at the corner of the tower in 1962 when construction on the building commenced.
➢ I think it would be interesting to discover what memorabilia was placed in it some 55 years ago.

10 years ago we commemorated the one hundredth anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Cheyenne.
➢ We had a record of what had been placed in a copper box in the cornerstone in 1907. So we decided to open up the cornerstone, examine its contents, and add some souvenirs from 2007.
➢ So, some stone masons began the project of locating the cavity which would contain the copper box.
➢ It was no small project because in the process of locating the opening for the cornerstone, they found out that the cornerstone for the cathedral was indeed a genuine cornerstone.
➢ It was no ornamental piece.
➢ The stone was immense. Probably about the size of our altar.
➢ It literally was the cornerstone upon which all of the cathedral rested.
➢ Indeed, it was a real cornerstone, just like in times of old, that supported the entire structure.

Letter of Saint Peter
This is the image that Saint Peter uses in the second reading for mass today.
➢ Here, he says that Jesus is the cornerstone, chosen and precious.
➢ It’s actually a quote from the book of the prophet Isaiah.
➢ He goes on further to say that the stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. This is a reference to Psalm 118.
➢ As he describes the church he uses the image of a building.
➢ We are the living stones that make up the church and Jesus himself is the cornerstone.
➢ In this sense, Jesus is the one who supports the entire structure. The church rest upon him because the church is his body.
➢ The church rest upon him because he found it himself.
➢ Our lives build up the church just like stones fill up a building.
Because Jesus is the cornerstone, we are the living stones that he uses to build up his church.

Gospel at the last supper
This image comes to life in the gospel that we have today. It is a familiar passage used so many times at funeral liturgies because it gives such a sense of hope and consolation.
➢ Here we find Jesus at the Last Supper with his disciples. Jesus’ heart is heavy as he ponders
➢ The passage begins in such a positive note.
➢ Jesus tells them, “Do not be afraid. Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
➢ He reassures them, as he reassures us, that the Father has a place in his heart and in his home for each of us.
➢ We are made to spend eternity with the Father.
➢ Jesus then makes that familiar statement, “I am the Way, the truth and the life.”
➢ In doing so he identifies himself with the living God.
➢ Remember the story of Moses and the fire of the burning bush. When Moses asked God who are you, who shall I say sent me.
➢ God responds, “I am who I am!”
➢ Here Jesus uses that familiar phrase to identify who he is. He is the way, the truth and the life.
➢ There is something here that appeals to the restlessness of the human heart. There is something deep down inside of us that wants to know, “where am I going? What is real? Who am I?”

The way
Here Jesus tells us that he is the way.
➢ In other words, he is the meaning and the purpose of life. He invites us to follow him.
➢ He himself is the way.
➢ So that means that in following him there is a goal and a purpose to our life.
➢ He is the way back to the Father.

The Truth
We are made to know the truth.
➢ Our minds search for what is real and true.
➢ We want to know what is true.
➢ In the statement of the last supper, Jesus reveals that he himself is the truth.
➢ In other words, all of reality and being finds its foundation, source and purpose in him. To know Jesus is to know the truth.

The Life
Finally, Jesus is the life
➢ We come to know ourselves and who we are because Jesus is the life which lead us to discovering our deepest identity.
➢ We are made in the image in the likeness of God.
➢ We are created for the good and to be good. Our souls and spirits long for what is beautiful.
Jesus himself is that life which is the fullest revelation of who we are before God.

We celebrated Easter a month ago and we’re kind of winding up things now as we anticipate summer.
➢ This is a good time to take our spiritual temperature and see what’s happening with our faith.
➢ It’s a good time to ask yourself this question, “is my faith vibrant or I am I in survival mode?”

Take a moment to do an inventory of your faith life in three areas.

How is your prayer life going?
➢ Do you pray every day? Do you offer God your day in the morning?
➢ Do you pray that you might recognize his presence during the day?
➢ At the end of the day do you take a moment before you go to sleep to think about the blessings of the day, the joys of the day, and three things that you’re thankful for?

When was the last time you receive the sacrament of reconciliation?
➢ It is a marvelous sacrament where God manifest his mercy and his compassion.
➢ It’s a sacrament that helps us to grow in holiness. Hopefully, you received the sacrament of reconciliation during Lent in preparation for Easter.
➢ Please don’t wait another seven months to receive that sacrament around Christmas time.
➢ Experience the mercy of God. Remember, Jesus is the face of the Father’s mercy.
➢ His mercy is unconditional, undeserved, and relentless.
➢ Bathe yourself in that Mercy.

Think about the Holy Eucharist.
➢ We receive communion so many times. Especially, if you attend mass every single Sunday. There’s a danger here that it can become so routine.
➢ Think about how you prepare yourself to receive the holy Eucharist.
➢ Do you yearn for Jesus to come into your heart?
➢ Is the reception of the Eucharist either on a daily or weekly basis the highlight of your entire day or a week?

Take a moment and ask yourself some questions take a spiritual temperature of your life.
➢ As we continue our celebration of the great Easter festival, we hear the words of Jesus from the last supper.
➢ Those are living words. Once again he tells us, “do not let your hearts be trouble. Have faith!”
➢ Don’t forget what he said, He himself, ” I am Way, the truth and the life.”