Do you know the difference between a Keystone and a Cornerstone? Apparently I didn’t. A keystone is the wedge-shaped stone at the center and top of an arch. All the weight and pressure of the other stones press up and against this stone. This is why an arch is such a strong architectural design. (You’d think a guy from St. Louis, MO would naturally understand this.)
I thought this is kind of what a cornerstone does, somehow from the ground, but that is not the job the cornerstone at all. According to the magical interwebs, a cornerstone is the first stone set in a stone building. All other stones are placed in reference to this first stone. The cornerstone establishes the position of the entire building.
In our second reading, we hear Jesus referred to as the cornerstone. He’s previously rejected, but God is setting Jesus as the reference guide for all others. In this way, Jesus isn’t just our solid rock foundation. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection sets the guideline for each and every one of us.
As Christians we seek to conform our life to Jesus’ life. We seek to live like Jesus lived. How did Jesus live? By following the Father’s will. The stone of our life lines up best with Jesus’ stone when we follow God’s will for our lives.
Through our baptism we are baptized into a death like Jesus’. Every time we lay down our own desires in order to serve the good of another, we embrace a death like Jesus’. This is what love is, laying down our lives for the good of another. When we love well, we emulate Jesus’ death on the cross and we conform our life to the cornerstone.
Jesus was the first born of the dead. He goes before us, not only in death but in life in the resurrection. St. Paul says it like this, “For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection.” (Romans 6:7) Lining up with the cornerstone in our life, death, and resurrection is the good news of our faith.