The Stone Which the Builders Rejected… – Barbara J. Menard

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“The Stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone…”

One of the blessings of the “Stay-At-Home-Order” or “Sheltering-in- Place” is the fact that each day is open-ended.  I don’t need to hurry up to get ready to drive to work because I am working from home.  I don’t have the pressure of deadlines except for the ever-present bills that need to be paid.  And I have no excuse for not taking a daily brisk morning walk.

On Easter Sunday I set out walking and I felt somewhat heavy and sad.  This is the first Easter since I was six or seven years old that I am not singing in a choir or several choirs for the services.  Since I have been used to planning the liturgies for the Triduum of Holy (Maundy) Thursday, Good Friday, the Vigil and Sunday, the solitude of Holy Week was truly a void for me.  I am sure that I am not alone in feeling that loss of contact with a faith community and singing Easter Alleluias in full voice.

As I walked along my eyes spotted a beautifully painted rock that was placed on someone’s stairs standing upside down.  I thought to myself…well that is fitting as our whole world feels upside down.  I walked another block and hidden in the path was another painted rock…and then another…and then another.  My heart began to lighten and I felt like a child on an Easter egg hunt!  Where would I find the next rock?  How would it be painted?  Who did this thoughtful thing?  My sadness turned to joy as I marveled at this simple gift of beauty in unexpected places.

Then I thought about the apostles and women disciples on that first Easter.  They too were filled with tremendous grief, sadness, and loss over the death of Jesus.  They felt frightened, anxious, and afraid of the unknown future ahead of them.  They were totally surprised as Jesus appeared to them either alone, like Mary in the garden, or in a group in the upper room.  They never knew when he would come.  Just like the painted rocks, Jesus’ presence was a surprise and a delight.  They wanted to cling to him, but Jesus challenged them to go out to the whole world and be witnesses to the Resurrection.  They were forever changed.

I wanted to pick up one of the rocks and keep it.  But I decided to leave them nesting in their various locations so they would be a surprise and a joy for others to find.  Just as Jesus disappeared from the sight of the disciples, so all the rocks have now disappeared.  But the challenge for the first followers of Jesus and for us today is to remember the joy we experienced at seeing Jesus and experiencing His Risen Glory.  The invitation is to live with hope and trust that Jesus will appear to us each day in surprising ways if we keep our eyes and heart open.

By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.”  Psalm118


Barbara has been involved with IVC San Diego almost since its beginning.  She has served as Animator, Spiritual Reflector, interim Director, and member of the Regional Advisory Council (2005 to the present).  Barbara works part-time as a social worker at Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego, is the director of her family’s foundation (The Menard Family Foundation), and is a long-time benefactor to IVC.

IVC By the Numbers

  • 25 – Years of service to the poor and marginalized

  • $25.43 – Estimated national value of each service hour

  • $17,495.84 – Economic impact of one IVC service member’s time, talent, and expertise


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