Faith that Works

Teaching middle schoolers how to live and practice their faith

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

The school I attended growing up proudly proclaimed “Jesus is Lord!” on all of its signs, logos, etc. While I am not sure that this was fully lived out by the people who ultimately made the decisions there, it’s a bold statement. This O Antiphon invites us to reflect on our own lives and see if Jesus truly is the king of our hearts and lives.

As I was reflecting on this O Antiphon, at first I mistakenly read keystone as cornerstone, which is an image I’ve heard before in scripture. But a keystone is quite different. The keystone is the last stone placed in a stone archway, and it is the stone that keeps the entire structure together. Because of this, the word keystone has come to mean something that keeps other things together- for example, bees are called a keystone species. To me this changed the image of Christ that the O Antiphon invokes.

Christ truly is the King of all nations and the Keystone of the Church. In the last few years of scandal, lies and systematic abuse of power, we need Christ the Keystone more than ever. When my husband and I first heard the reports of the grand jury in Pennsylvania, we had an honest discussion about whether or not we could remain a part of a church that could do those things. We decided to stay for many reasons, but chief among them were that we believe in Christ the Keystone more than we believe in his flawed followers. We also felt that now more than ever, our church needs people who will stay and fight to keep Jesus as Lord of our Church.

Advent gives us a time to focus on some of the keystone beliefs of our faith: the first and second comings of Jesus, the triumph of light over darkness, and the power of hope, peace, joy and love. Advent is the season to make room in our hearts so that Jesus truly is Lord.

For today: Which of your beliefs are keystones to your faith? Would others know that Jesus is Lord in your life? How? Take some time to pray today and ask Jesus to be the keystone of your thoughts, actions, and words. Ask for the grace to keep him at the center of your hopes and plans for your life.

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