A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “A” – 8/27/17 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
The symbolic giving of the keys is important in many ways and situations. When dignitaries and VIP’s visit a city, many times they are given the keys to that city. Perhaps when you’ve become really close friends with someone, they will give you a key to their apartment or home, signifying a trust, and a comfort level, in the relationship. All of us can probably remember what it was like to have a parent, or other relative or friend, give you the keys to their car, so that you could drive it. I can remember that when I went to my Junior prom, my grandfather gave me the keys to his Lincoln Town Car, to drive my date to the prom. I felt like the King of the World. I think I was more excited about driving that car, than I was the prom or my date. And when we are in love, we sing songs and write poems about our new loved one being the “Key to My Heart”.
So with all of these important cultural references to keys, we can understand and relate to Jesus’s trusting St. Peter, and really all the Apostles, by giving them the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. This Gospel reading then becomes the basis for Apostolic succession, and the authority that is given in each generation of the Church, to our church leaders. Jesus’s actions here are amazing! He knows how much they still don’t understand. He knows how weak these men are, and how little Faith they can have at times. He even seems to know that they will betray Him, and deny Him, and hand Him over to the Romans. But He must also already have plans to send them the Holy Spirit. And He knows that with the Holy Spirit, absolutely nothing will be able to stop His Church! And so Jesus entrusts them with the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. And along with that authority, He gives the Church the right and responsibility of binding and loosening sins. This even more amazing. The truth is, we don’t like to talk a whole lot about this as Catholic Christians. This is because we don’t want to offend our non-Catholic brothers and sisters. But this binding and loosening of sins is an extremely big deal. It is not just the Church’s right, it is much more the Church’s responsibility, and that responsibility comes with huge amounts of accountability! The Church is to be the agent of God’s mercy. This is why Pope Francis wanted to have that Holy Year of Mercy just a couple of years ago! What the world needs now, more than anything else, is MERCY! And if we as Church, are not seriously taking up that responsibility, then we’re NOT doing our jobs! Today, the Church is extremely cautious in binding things. Judgment belongs to God. But today even God seems to be saying, that to get as many of us home to Heaven as possible, the Church even today has to be honest about binding things. Think of what God has done here! What an incredible responsibility!
Today, in 2017, that great responsibility is given to each one of us. It not just for St. Peter. It is not just for the Popes and the Bishops. It was not just for two-thousand years ago. But it is for all of us today! Today we are entrusted with keys to one another’s hearts, and to one another’s souls, and to one another’s salvation. Forgiveness and mercy are the consistent message that all of us need to be bringing to our world today. That’s not a nice goal. It’s our responsibility! Let us be worthy of Jesus’ trust and His love. Let us take seriously our call and our role. And let us be faithful to His trust!
Here’s the keys to the Kingdom! Now, what are you going to do with them?
+ May God bless us this week, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!