27th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - 8th October, 2017

The Stone Which the Builders Rejected

From “X Factor” to “reject factor”

We now live in a world of extremes, from the world of the “x factor” celebrity where the winner is feted, to the world of the “weakest link,” where the losers are “fired”.

The Colosseum is now in the living room

From the comfort of the modern living room we can now view the gladiators as they once were in the Colosseum. We have the power to give the “thumbs up” for the winner or the “thumbs” down for the loser. What a humiliation to be declared as the “weakest link.” There are echoes here of “put down” days of childhood or adolescence, of being bullied or ostracized, of being kept outside the group. On social media sites we can even see the public executions of former dictators of totalitarian regimes.

A new “PC” language

However, there is a new language of respect today for people for whom life offers a daily challenge. This indeed is a culture which is aspiring to bring those once rejected, labelled or ostracized, into the centre.

Jesus and the weakest links

Today, Jesus challenges us personally as he uses an allegory to let us know how we are seen. We are the Lord’s vineyard. He built it carefully, “fenced it around, dug a winepress and built a tower”. We are the tenants but we dealt harshly with his servants and even killed his son.

The Stone rejected becomes the corner stone

Matthew the evangelist may be using a clever ploy. The word “Ben” means son, and “eben” means stone and so this leads Jesus to move from the “Son” to the “stone” which was rejected by the builders. The “keystone” is the central stone at the centre of any arch which hold all the other stones in place or indeed it can become the foundation stone.

Befriend the rejected

Jesus will say that those who are the weakest links in this life, those who endure the humiliation of the “reject factor” will be the keystones in our church. We are invited now to think of all those considered the weakest links in our society, the outcast, and the so-called failures. Matthew the evangelist has Jesus on the panel and he considers them “x factor” material. We might have to hold on to their coat tails to enter the kingdom of heaven!

Fr. Michael McCullagh c.m.