I have a personal and inherent antipathy to the use of the adjective precious when used as descriptive of Jesus Christ. So I am uncomfortable with this description as applied to the Lord in

TODAY’S SECOND READING [1 PETER 2: 4 – 9] which proclaims to you therefore who believe, he is precious ….” In contemporary, common, English usage the word precious applied to a person usually indicates something delicate and a little ostentatious in an affected manner. In this sense there was nothing precious about Jesus.

Fortunately our translation uses the word in the correct sense a little earlier on – in the sense of something being of “great worth” which is the term used by most translations. In our choice of Jesus Christ as the resurrected Lord we opt for and select something of great worth – enormously valuable.

This second reading provides us with a telling and practical application in two connected images. The first is that of a

BUILDING of LIVING STONES. Buildings have to be built – there has to be a plan which must be followed otherwise what results is something which is neither one thing nor the other. Like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house.” Nothing happens by accident or by merely wishing or willing it to happen – ‘willing’ is not enough. We have to know and follow the plan – BUILD THE PLAN! Otherwise, it remains only a plan gathering dust on the shelf – and the dramatic description of what we should be remains no more than an ideal, a pipe dream! But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.”

I have a personal and inherent antipathy to the use of the adjective precious when used as descriptive of Jesus Christ. So I am uncomfortable with this description as applied to the Lord in

TODAY’S SECOND READING [1 PETER 2: 4 – 9] which proclaims to you therefore who believe, he is precious ….” In contemporary, common, English usage the word precious applied to a person usually indicates something delicate and a little ostentatious in an affected manner. In this sense there was nothing precious about Jesus.

Fortunately our translation uses the word in the correct sense a little earlier on – in the sense of something being of “great worth” which is the term used by most translations. In our choice of Jesus Christ as the resurrected Lord we opt for and select something of great worth – enormously valuable.

This second reading provides us with a telling and practical application in two connected images. The first is that of a

BUILDING of LIVING STONES. Buildings have to be built – there has to be a plan which must be followed otherwise what results is something which is neither one thing nor the other. Like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house.” Nothing happens by accident or by merely wishing or willing it to happen – ‘willing’ is not enough. We have to know and follow the plan – BUILD THE PLAN! Otherwise, it remains only a plan gathering dust on the shelf – and the dramatic description of what we should be remains no more than an ideal, a pipe dream! But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people.”

The second image comes to us in the description of Jesus which is linked to an invitation: Come to the Lord, to that living stone – chosen and precious (valuable!).” However, the image increases in its dramatic and practical portrayal. This living stone IS”the very stone which the builders rejected (and) has become the cornerstone.”

Further aspects of value now emerge. We have been described as living stonesthe Lord is now described as the same. God-in-Christ is alive and well –

ONE WITH US! Yet he is even more. HE IS THE CORNERSTONEan essential part of the plan. If we are going TO BE BUILT INTO HIS SPIRITUAL HOUSE, together with him, we cannot be builders who reject the cornerstone – the plan. It is simply impossible to build our house of faith and practice without the cornerstone which is ‘the’ part of the ‘the’ plan. It is a package deal. We cannot take a ‘little bit’ there, and another ‘small piece here’. Our house will result in sloping floors, windows that do not close, and doors that scrape. No good blaming the plan – the responsibility lies with the builder who did not follow the blueprint! A builder who tries to cut corners always comes short and ends up with a job that needs to be patched.

All the images should be easy to understand. How well do we accept them? My own personal experience is to follow the recipe – especially if it is tried and tested. When we are entirely acquainted with the basic ingredients, it may well be possible to add a few ingredients but the ‘cornerstone’ must always remain the same.

Take a careful look at

THIS SUNDAY’S FIRST READING [ACTS 6: 1 – 7]. The Apostles added something to the recipe – nothing was taken out. What is also important is the fact that everyone who was going to ‘taste’ the result of the new recipe was consulted – and what they said pleased the whole community.” What was added did not merely appeal to the taste of some or a few. Rather, it pleased the whole! The basic plan remained the same – the preaching of the word of God.” It is very interesting that in these weeks after Easter Sunday the first two scripture readings continually focus on the PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST and HIS TEACHING RECORDED IN THE WORD OF GOD. Is it not somewhat strange that so many good Catholics give the impression that they seek and find their foundation of faith elsewhere?! The peripheral drum they beat is too often divisive of the community. There are words from TODAY’S PSALM [33 or 32] which underlines the foundation and cornerstone: The word of the Lord is faithful, and all his works are to be trusted.”

THIS SUNDAY’S GOSPEL [JOHN 14: 1 – 12]

gives both life and impetus to what we have just said. The extract starts with the all-important let not your hearts be troubled .” Why does the Lord insist on this? Well, remember the emphasis on the person of Jesus Christ and the Word (his teaching, what he has told us) and hear Jesus himself saying in the Gospel extract, if it were not so, would I have told you …”? In other words, would he mislead us by making false promises?

Then, the Lord proclaims: “I will come again and will take you to myself.” HE will come – no one else. HE will take us to himself – and to the Father – no one else!

HE HAS GIVEN US HIS WORD.