By Maria Covarrubias
“The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone…”
We read this statement several times in the readings at the beginning of Easter. Peter, himself, filled with the Holy Spirit proclaims this to the elders and scribes as a response of their questioning of “by what power or by what name have you done this?”
Then Peter strongly proclaims with certainty and conviction, “there is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
These statements, and all that happened after the Resurrection of Jesus, were bold! The Acts of the Apostles narrate the fast growth and happenings of the first Christian community. There was a visible transformation in those who believed in Jesus after his Resurrection. A strong witnessing of the community, breaking of the bread, prayers, many wonders and signs were part of the spirit of this new community who would come together to share meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. (Acts 2: 46)
This new community was with a new spirit. Psalm 118 begins, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his mercy endures forever.” The spirit of mercy gave these people a new birth into a living hope through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. God’s mercy pouring out over those who believed was the most visible sign of God’s love. The Resurrection of Jesus is the work of God’s love for us.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, God, “HE WHO IS,” revealed himself to Israel as the one “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” These two terms express summarily the riches of the divine name. In all his works, God displays not only his kindness, goodness, grace and steadfast love, but also his trustworthiness, constancy, faithfulness and truth. “I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness.” He is the Truth, for “God is light and in him there is no darkness;” “God is love,” as the Apostle John teaches. (CCC 214)
Today, God’s mercy continues to be poured out over each and every one of us. Many signs and miracles are happening around us that speak of this divine love of God for His creation. We, like the first Christians, are to be bold in the way we witness to our faith. We must be in awe of God’s love and mercy through the Resurrection of Jesus. The Holy Spirit will rekindle the spirit of living hope in us if we surrender to God’s love by opening our hearts and minds to receive it. Then, we will experience an extraordinary and life giving intimacy with the faithful God who is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Because, God is love!
Maria Covarrubias is Director of the Office of Catechetical Ministry for the Diocese of San Bernardino.