Easter Sunday - Year B
The Rejected Stone
The response to today's first reading is taken from Psalm 118. It reads "The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone."
The psalmist was probably referring to the faithful of Israel. They seemed to be ignored by the world, but were the cornerstone of religious life.
The words became literally true for Jesus. Here's the story:
In the time of Christ, there was a stone quarry just outside the western wall of the city. The workers had cut a large block of stone for building purposes. Unfortunately they found a large crack in it, caused by an earthquake. So they left it in place and ignored it.
The Romans decided that it would be an ideal stage for executions. It was near a public gate and would be seen by all as a warning against crimes such as treason. They accused Jesus of this because he claimed to be a king.
For Christians, the stone of Calvary literally became the cornerstone of our religion.
A Little Yeast
If you've ever used a bread making machine or fixed bread by hand, you know what yeast does. It makes the dough rise and soft.
We usually get yeast from the supermarket in cake or dried form. Bread makers in the bible didn't have this luxury. They had to make their own yeast. Here's how:
They would begin with a batch of slightly moist flour. Then they would cover it with cloth and leave it in a warm spot. Yeast is a microscopic plant that is in the air all around us. Eventually the yeast would start growing in the wet flour. After a few days it would give off a pungent aroma and turn gray.
This all took some time, so normally they would save a bit of "starter" batch to speed up the process. We call bread made from this natural yeast "sourdough".
Once a year, at Passover time, they would throw out all the old yeast to start fresh. During this time they would eat yeast-less or "unleavened" bread.
Saint Paul uses this image to teach that Christians have to throw out their old attitudes and ways of living. These could spread in us just like a bad yeast.
We must live new risen lives with Jesus.
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