Both readings today are fraught with violence provoked by the very human tendency toward jealousy. And while the readings depict an external conflict, the same battle often happens internally. We look at other people’s gifts and strengths and reactively beat ourselves up for our own faults and weaknesses. Yet Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel free us to look at our brokenness in a different way:

The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes.

Instead of feeling shame for past mistakes or seeing your brokenness as a form of weakness, Jesus invites us to see exactly those things as a possible cornerstone of our identity. These very things can be the foundation of compassion and empathy toward others. Ask God to transform the rejected places in your heart into a life-giving source for others.

Sarah Otto received her M.Div. degree  from Boston College. She currently serves as director of the Newman Catholic Center in Chico, CA.