It is not enough we confess our sins, we need to profess our faith in Jesus like Peter

  Dear People of God, It is 23rd August 2020.  We celebrate the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. 


Dear People of God,

It is 23rd August 2020.  We celebrate the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time.  The readings are from Isaiah 22:19-23; the second reading is from Romans 11:33-36; and the Gospel from Matthew 16:13-20.

Making a difference in someone’s life.  Jesus made a difference in the life of Peter.  “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church.” (Mt. 16:18).  God made the difference in the life of Eliakim. Paul made the difference in the life of Jews and Gentiles.    God wants to make a difference in our life.  “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” (Is. 22:22).  God removes someone to replace with someone else in the first reading.  The second in command next to king and the held the keys of the house in the absence of the king.

The second reading is a doxology, a hymn of praise. St. Paul comes in terms with the understanding that God always needs to be trusted and God is the source of all things that created for him, in Him and through Him.  God knows the best for us all.

The responsorial Psalm sings, “Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.” (Ps.138:8)

Today’s Gospel has three parts. the opinions about Jesus, the truth about Jesus, and the responsibility entrusted to Peter.

The Opinion:

Who do people say that I am?  What will be our answer today?

“This is John the Baptist” (Matthew 14: 1-2). This is Elijah (2 Kings 2:11), who went to heaven in a whirlwind, had faith that the day of the Lord would come before (Malachi 4: 5).

God reveals who Jesus through Peter.  Jesus reveals who Peter will be.  Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life.  He wants us to spread the truth using the Church that is you and me.  Jesus took his disciples wanted to have an important conversion.  He started to enquire about the opinions of people about Him.  After listening to the opinions of other about Him, he asked to share their belief about Him.  Immediately Peter responded swiftly.  He confessed his faith on Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Jesus was not impressed with the assessment of people basing on His activities.  So, he threw the question to the Apostles to know whether they understood His message.  Only Peter confessed who Jesus is.  “Simon, son of Jonah, you are a happy man. Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but it is my Father in heaven who revealed this to you.”

It is not about how do I look but an honest feedback.  Identity enhanced by the individuality.

Normally we go by the opinions of the majority in knowing who we are in front of the others.  But Jesus moves away from the norm and Jesus asked a simple question to his gathered followers: “Who do you say I am?” He wanted to know how they identified him. And he wanted to know how they identified themselves.

The Truth:

It is not enough we confess our sins, we need to profess our faith in Jesus like Peter.

“Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16

There are 1 billion, 131 million Catholics in the world.  Everyone of us has a special relationship with Jesus through the Word and the Sacrament.  It is all possible by the mystical Body of Christ, the Church. We all love our Church.  We want to be in the Church even amidst the restriction during the pandemic.  The use of the term church in today’s Gospel is one of only three such occurrences in Matthew’s Gospel.

“Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.” (Ps.31:3).God’s love is everlasting.

“Jesus went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”(Jn.6:65).

The Responsibility:

Keys are given to Eliakim in Isaiah prefiguring the keys that is given to Peter in Matthew.   The keys are a sign that the Lord has entrusted the care of His people to the Church. The Church is given the power to make Christ real in the world.  The Church is given the power to bring people to Christ.

“Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement and we will make the goal.”  Jerome Fleishman

Jesus approved what Peter said and reveals a new identity of Peter as rock, on which Jesus expressed His profound desire to build His Church. Jesus calls Peter, the rock; the scripture teaches us that God is rock who leads us.   Jesus makes Peter’s faith as the foundation from thence the institution of papacy is born.  The apostolic succession began from Peter continue till Francis today.  The Vicar of Christ has the power to lose and bind, shut and open.  They have the final say on the matters of faith, morals, and teaching.

Who am I?  if we know the answer then we know what we need to know.  Without God’s help, we cannot confess Jesus is the Lord.  Jesus is the way to the Father; the Church is the entrance to the Heaven; we all are God’s people.

When we confess, we are commissioned.

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Is.54:10).

“The church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Tim. 3:15)

To strengthen faith of the people of God is the primary duty of the Vicar of Christ.  “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Lk.22:32)

Even though Peter confessed Jesus as Messiah, Jesus instructed them not to tell it out.  When people have a wrong view and understanding of the Messiah, there is no rush to force our views on others.

“Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 Jn. 5:5)

Being true to ourselves is honoring who we are inside out.  Jesus knew Peter who would deny Him three times, yet He wanted to lead the Church.  He gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. The symbolism of the keys is the expression of domestic authority.

Jesus sees something the world and people around us do not notice.  Jesus sees us through and through and that is why He trusts us so much with leading others whether in family, community and in the country.  He has found us worthy and that is why we are here today around this table of love.  “The holy people of God shares also in Christ’s prophetic office; it spreads abroad a living witness to Him, especially by means of a life of faith and charity and by offering to God a sacrifice of praise, the tribute of lips which give praise to His name. The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief.” (Dogmatic Constitution On The Church Lumen Gentium,12).  We are the new rocks on which Jesus wants to build the Church today.

His Holiness Pope Francis reminds us, “Brothers and sisters, what happened in a unique way in St. Peter, also happens in every one of us who develops a sincere faith in Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Let us close our eyes a moment, take a deep breath: “Jesus, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” may God help us not to go by opinions but search for the truth.  Jesus is the Truth. May we follow Him, love Him and share His values of love, compassion and mercy with others.  May God bless each one of you.  May you have pleasant week.

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