Gospel Reflection for the 21st Sunday Ordinary Time Year A – August 24th 2014
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’
And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets’.
‘But you,’ he said ‘who do you say I am?’
Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said ‘the Son of the living God’.
Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man!
Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.
So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church.
And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven;
whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’
Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
What does this story tell us? Jesus wasn’t just asking a rhetorical question. He wanted a response to his question who am I for you? He had spent time with people and some have accepted him. Peter’s was the remark of faith. Faith is in the person of Jesus before any creed. Our faith is based on Jesus not on the church. It is knowing Jesus from the inside – knowing who he really is with the knowledge of the heart.
The name of that openness to God’s love on the part of the people is “faith.”
Is our faith just like a birthmark or a way of life and love?
For some it is just a birthmark. A label for birth, marriage and death. It has become more like this in Ireland and the church in many ways allows this. The church is the body of people here for Christ, concerned intimately with whatever concerns people.
Who is Christ for me? The question that will ground our faith.
Christ is bigger than the church, and God is bigger than Christ. We are here for partnership with the Lord in bringing on the reign of God.
What would that look like? That people who care for each other and particularly for the old, the child, the weaker, the unborn and the refugee. The church is the community where the weakest are welcomed.
The son of the living God is the one who heals, cures, wants us, and is the human face of God. We are that too – he has no body now on earth but ours!
Donal Neary SJ