Mind your Step
(5th Sunday of Easter: Acts 6:1-7; 1 Peter 2:4-9; John 14:1-12)
St. Peter, in today’s second reading, combines three distinct Old Testament texts: Isaiah 28:16, Psalm 118:22, and Isaiah 8:14.
The first two are used to give force to his exhortation: “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.”
The third, however, refers to “a stone that will make people stumble,” and he adds, “They stumble by disobeying the word.”
This is an apt image for the people whom Mary complained about at La Salette. They were stumbling in many ways. Blighted wheat and potatoes, rotten grapes and worm-eaten walnuts, the prospect of famine—it is no wonder that they were anxious and demoralized.
Mary saw all this, but she also saw their blighted inner harvest—their indifference to and mockery of religion, their blasphemous disrespect for her Son’s name. These had brought them very low indeed.
Not all spiritual stumbling is sin. In our first reading, for example, we learn that dissension over the distribution of food was threatening the harmony of the early Christian community in Jerusalem. A solution was found before permanent harm could be done.
The same is true of our doubts and questioning. These are most often honest expressions of our inability to understand the ways of God. When we are tempted to go so far as to blame God for our troubles, we do well to remember St. Peter’s quotation of Isaiah 28:16, “Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion, a cornerstone, chosen and precious, and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame.”
We must believe in the cornerstone and build a structure of hope upon it. It is one thing to stumble. It is quite another thing not to get up.
Let us not forget the Gospel, in which Jesus says, “You have faith in God; have faith also in me,” and “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Along this Way no stumbling is fatal, before this Truth no doubt is permanent, and in this Life, death shall not have dominion.
Fr. René Butler, M.S. and Wayne Vanasse