Saturday, September 2, 2017

Met Georges Khodr: Christ the Cornerstone

Arabic original here.

Christ the Cornerstone

"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone." After the Savior told the parable of the lord of the vineyard who sent his servants to take the fruit of the vineyard but were killed by the workers, who then sent his son to them and they killed him as well, He mentions this verse (Psalm 117:22 LXX). When the Prophet David said this of old, he meant by "the cornerstone" God Himself, so Christ took these words associated with God and applied them to Himself and made Himself the cornerstone, that stone that the Jews rejected and cast aside.

We know that traditional construction involved setting stones in rows, meaning that the stones were placed next to each other without cement. Instead, the stone was supported with wood until it reached the top of the roof, where there would be a hole that had to be filled with a stone called a cornerstone. In old times in villages there would be a master builder who alone knew how to choose the right stone and he would cut it in the shape of a cross and place it in the hole, so if it fit correctly with the stones around it, it would make a "lock" for the entire building. Thus all the building's stones would be held together by one stone at the top of the roof. Jesus took this image and called Himself the cornerstone. And as for us, as the Apostle Peter says, "you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house" (1 Peter 2:5). We who believe in Christ have been called the temple of God. This means that we come from Christ and hold fast to Him. And each of us holds fast to his brother if he holds fast to Christ. That is, if each of us is united to Christ, he is at the same time connected to his brother and serves him.

We members of the Church do not have the support of group feeling [Arabic: 'asabiya]. We are not brought together by partisanship or family of flesh and blood. We belong to different races and colors and to different cities. Each of us has his own education, friendships and temperament. Each of us has his own interests on earth, but we transcend them all in order to become God's one family, according to the words of the Apostle Paul: "one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:5-6).

Therefore in our Church let us not look at what divides one individual from another, but rather let us look at what brings people together. We were all bought for a price, the divine blood that flows in our veins, the blood of Christ that we receive from the holy chalice brings us together as one family. The Apostle Paul says in today's epistle, "If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema." That is, let him be cut off from membership in the Church. The Apostle Paul did not say that anyone who belongs to Christianity by identity is a Christian. He did not say that is content merely with being baptized is a Christian. A Christian is someone who loves Jesus Christ with supreme sincerity, applies His teachings, and walks according to His commandments.

Then Paul adds an Aramaic expression, "Maran atha", which means "come, Lord." The Lord comes among us in the divine sacrifice, with His body and blood, with love that has been poured out. So long as the Lord comes to us and comes bringing certain love, we cannot but love our Lord Jesus Christ and lean on Him because He is the cornerstone. In Him we become brothers in one family. If the Lord Jesus is life, we cannot think of anything else. Food, drink and sustenance are all nice things that we need, but they are marginal when compared to Jesus Christ. He is our life.

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