24th August – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

This Sunday’s gospel was Jesus’ commissioning of Peter.pete

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.

In my homily I focused on “Who do YOU say that I am” and the importance of making a personal commitment to Jesus as Lord and Saviour. In today’s secular world, we wont survive as merely cultural Christians because the tide will take us in the wrong direction. Being an evangelical Christian means more that just going to Mass on Sundays & Holy Days, daily prayer, keeping the Commandments and doing charitable works. We are human beings rather than human doings. Being committed to Jesus is a commitment of love, loyalty and respect to his person similar to the relationship between husband and wife, between parents and children, etc. For this reason the new version of the Mass has changed the Creed from “We believe…” to “I believe…”

Being committed to the person of Jesus is a gift of God’s grace. As Jesus said to Peter Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.. Dedication to daily prayer and especially invoking the Holy Spirit is key to this.

I finished my “few words” by asking how we should perceive the current abortion controversy from the perspective of Jesus’ Lordship. Given his love for little children, would he have sanctioned the death of the little baby? Rather than the “non-directive” counselling given to the mother by the Irish Family Planning Association, would Jesus have not said to her “Courage, it is I, do not be afraid” as he did to the drowning Peter in the gospel two weeks ago?

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