Gospel Reflection Aug 27 – Kim VanHuffel
Sunday, August 27
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.
As many of you know, I have just taken on the role of Adult Faith Formation Director as Sr. Teresa retires. Big shoes to fill! We will all miss her very much!
As we enter fall, our next study is going to be The Rescue Project, and I’d like to reflect on the question posed by our gospel reading — Who do you say that I am? — by borrowing a concept from Fr. John Riccardo within The Rescue Project study. Imagine it is June 6, 1944 and you live in an occupied country in Europe, during WWII. One day you are reading the newspaper and you calmly set it aside, and someone at your table asks you what the news of the day is. You shrug your shoulders and say “the Allies have landed.” As if it is no big deal! This certainly is not the way that news would have been received.
Likewise, if we believe, as Peter answered, that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” shouldn’t we be joyous about it? Shouldn’t we be living our lives according to the stories (parables) that Jesus told us; living the beatitudes that He gave us; and loving others as He taught us in the gospel?
There is another story that we hear about daily. It is told all the time on social media, many times just using pictures. That story tells us that what matters is what we look like, how we dress, what we own, and who we know. This story tells us these are the important things in life. Without even meaning to, we are participating in a story about power, possessions, and money. That is a very different story than that of the gospel!
Which story are we going to listen to? Which story are we going to order our lives by? The story of society that emphasizes things, or the story of Jesus and the gospel that emphasizes love, forgiveness, and reconciliation? Do we want to live according to the daily “news” on social media or the eternal “Good News?”
Who do YOU say that Jesus is? If you want to talk more about it, click here to register to join us for the Rescue Project this fall. We will dive into four major questions (along with Fr. Riccardo on DVD): 1) Why is there something rather than nothing? 2) Why is everything so obviously messed up? 3) What, if anything, has God done about it? 4) How should I respond? I hope to see you there!