Homily for 4th Sunday of Easter, Keys to Overcoming Rejection.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.
This is a passage that we read in today’s Scripture passage. It certainly reflects the experience of every person. At some time in your life, you will be rejected. Perhaps you will be bullied at school. Maybe colleagues will make fun of you at work. You might notice that people notice you and are talking about you at Trader Joe’s. You might even be talked about in a condescending way by your priest “brothers.” (Shocking… I know).
You get discouraged. You get sad. You get angry. Where do you go with this? May I suggest three keys.
Prayer is the first key. There is a prayer called “The Litany of Humility.” This prayer is attributed to Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val. He lived in the early 1930s and was Secretary of State of the Holy See under Pope Saint Pius X. The men of my Gospel Reflection Group pray this every week at the start of our Gospel study. It’s interesting that, in this prayer, we don’t pray to keep the gossip or slander or bullying away. We pray to keep us from the fear of being humbled, dismissed, despised, forgotten, ridiculed….
The second key is going to the shepherd. He knew what it was to be ridiculed, wronged, suspected, defamed. People who get slammed belong to His flock.
The psalmist writes about this:
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:18).
For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon the people who belong to him. (Psalm 94:14).
“Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
Here’s the third key. The Good Shepherd knows his sheep and calls them each by name. ”Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.“ (Matthew 11:28) You have to choose to come to him. How do we do this? It’s Mass. It’s Eucharist. But you have to be here – every week.
In looking at today’s Gospel, Scripture commentator Marion Adams notes that in” Verse 11 Peter uses the word ‘rejected stone’ to describe Jesus. The ‘builders’ were like Israel’s rulers. They did not think that Jesus was important. So, they rejected him.” You have a choice to make – every week.
Do you decide for Jesus, or do you reject Him?
Audio version of the homily is here: