Jesus Christ our Cornerstone, Shepherd, & Brother

4th Sunday of Easter

We are here today because of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And as truly today as when St. Peter first preached these words, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone, he is the Good Shepherd, he is the Son of God.

St. Peter is quoting today’s psalm when he proclaims Jesus as the stone rejected by the builders which has become the cornerstone. Christ is foreshadowed in the Old Testament by passages about holy stones: cornerstones, keystones, and capstones. A cornerstone is the foundational basis of a building which makes the whole structure possible. A keystone is found at the top of an arch—maintaining its shape alongside its fellow stones. And a capstone is a building’s top-most stone, its crowning glory.

In his new Temple, the Church he builds, Jesus Christ is “the beginning and the end”: he is the cornerstone which makes all this possible, he is the capstone—our crowning glory, and he is our keystone, working alongside us. St. Peter would later write to Christians about Christ:

Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house … to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus Christ also declares, “I am the Good Shepherd.” He is our Good Shepherd. Unlike others who act for self-interest and profit, he deeply cares about us. He knows us and we can know him. If we recognize his voice and follow after him he leads us to lush pastures and cool waters, to true rest with him and to the fruitfulness in good works and holiness his care makes possible: much wool and much milk produced for his pleasure. If we become lost, he seeks us out, and brings us back rejoicing. And Jesus protects us, offering his life to save his flock from evil and death. Jesus says:

This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. … This command I have received from my Father.”

Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father. It would have been enough for him to save us. (We were never in a position to demand even that.) But Christ goes further still, allowing us to be his Father’s children too. “See what love the Father has bestowed on us,” St. John writes, “that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. Beloved, we are God’s children now…” We are not kept as strangers, as slaves, or as mere subjects to him, but welcomed as precious and beloved sons and daughters.

In each of these true, biblical titles, Jesus the Cornerstone, the Good Shepherd, and Son of God, Christ is preeminent, most important among us; our foundation, our leader, and our divine Lord. Yet notice how Jesus in each of these realities offers a place for us with him: as stones within his Temple, as sheep within his flock, as children within his family. Jesus wants to be with us and wants you to be with him always, here at Holy Mass, in your daily times of prayer, and throughout your daily life. Will you respond to his invitation with the dedication of your time and devotion? We are here today because of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Let him be your cornerstone, your shepherd, and your brother, for there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.

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