Gospel Reflection Aug 30 – Deacon Don
Sunday, August 23
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 16: 13 – 20
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.
This is a familiar passage to many of us. It is Peter’s confession (his acknowledgement of Jesus’ identity through revealed truth by our heavenly Father) — acknowledging, bravely and with no ambiguity, that Jesus is, “…the Christ, the Son of the living God.” What a marvelous moment for Peter and for all of us — so much so that Jesus gives the keys to the kingdom of heaven to Peter and establishes the Church’s authority on earth.
Since then, we have been entrusted the pivotal duty of protecting and passing on the truth of the faith to future generations since that moment. This remains our duty today. Like most times in the Church’s history, this task has not been received or accepted easily and without trouble — with on-going rejection and challenge. Nonetheless, this is our time, with all the possibility of rejection and attempts to erode the Gospel’s message of joy and hope.
The message of the Gospel may be a story of the distant past, but it is as relevant and meaningful today as it is a message of a joyful and hopeful future. Like Peter, all the apostles eventually came to the same confession as Peter. Like Peter, they acknowledged what was revealed to them by God the Father himself. When we follow the Gospel’s message entrusted to Peter so long ago, we each make that same confession. It provides us a way to follow the heavenly Father’s wishes for us and a means to join him in eternal joy.
-Deacon Don Poirier