Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “Did you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?’”
I have two thoughts that I would like to share with you from today’s readings.
Joseph and Jealousy. Why do we get jealous of those who are working hard to be holy? In today’s first reading, we learn about the life of Joseph, son of Israel.
Joseph was rejected. He was rejected by his brothers. Why? Because he was a dreamer. He dreamed (maybe even “imagined”) that one day he could be a Saint. This bothered the heaven out of his brothers and made them extremely jealous! The fact that Joseph was loved by his father more than any of his brothers simply means that his father could count on him when he needed all of them!
I remember, back in my seminary days, a young seminarian who would go around the corridors with his hands folded in prayer and with a small crucifix in between his hands. I thought it was weird. I thought to myself, “Who does this guy think he is? John of the Cross? He won’t last a week here!” Well, today he is a very holy and wonderful priest. I’m the weird one.
Of course I didn’t know it back then (and probably wouldn’t even admit it back then) that there were seminarians who were working harder than me not to be holier than me, but to be holier.
This might sound strange to you, but there are a lot of people in the world that get irritated by holy people. Christopher Hitchens (an atheist) couldn’t stand Mother Teresa. I’m serious! He couldn’t stand her not because she judged him, but because he judged her! Yes, sinful people get annoyed and bothered by holy people not because they are judged by them but because they judge them, and they conclude that they are nothing like them! And that bothers the heaven out of them!
Do holy people bother you? Is it irritating to see how they can love, how they can give and how they can forgive? How irritating they can be! Especially when you are at the receiving end from all of them!
Joseph was condemned by his brothers because they were nothing like him. Instead of seeking to be more like him, they took the easy route and plotted to get rid of him.
The stone that the builders rejected. Joseph was thrown into a cistern. He was thrown away. Why did his brothers do that? Why do we do that with our most precious people and things? Why do we throw that which is precious, special and beautiful into the gutter? Why do teens throw into the cistern their virginity? Why do they give to their boyfriends or girlfriends that which they will one day give to their husband or wife? Why do they throw their youth away with alcohol and drugs?
Why do we throw away that which is most precious about us?
Our faith is the best! Forgive me for bragging. It is unlike any other. And it is constantly trashed and thrashed. Hollywood scorn’s her while the Intelligentsia belittles her. But for those who are meek and humble of heart, it continues to serve as a hot bowl of “chicken soup” on a very long cold and bitter winter day.
People can be bitter. People can be cold. They can be revengeful and calculating. Those who have little-to-no faith in a loving and forgiving God live in the harsh winters of rationalism and atheism. They spread their pessimism and gloom like a virus spreads its germs: on unemotional contact. For them, the soul is simply a void; the conscience just your voice. The fetus is a mass of tissues; a child another consumer.
But by saying all these things, what they have simply done is simply erase that which is most precious, most beautiful and most meaningful: that life is a gift. And that our life can be a gift of love - an explosion of love – that gives meaning to the Big Bang!
Resolution: I will not throw away that which is most precious to me: my faith (my God and my Church) and the dignity of human life.