A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME- CYCLE “A” – 8/24/14-SMG
Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
It is amazing how many times in life, that asking the right questions, is so much more important than having the right answers. Our questions clarify things for us. They get us the right information. They lead us on the right track. We know that some questions are more important than others. I tried to come up with a list of questions, that the minute you hear them, you know they are important! They are questions like “Where’s the nearest hospital?” Like “What blood type are you?” Like “Where’s a fire extinguisher?” Or like, “Do you know how to deliver a baby?” Any of those questions, at any time, will pretty much make you sit up and take notice. There are many others too.
Today Jesus is asking the disciples some interesting questions. And even as we hear the questions, we wonder, does He as God already know the answers? Most likely He does. And yet the disciple’s answers are as extremely important here as the questions being asked. They tell us a lot. First Jesus wants to know who others think that He is. Perhaps this is the easier of the questions. It was easy for the Apostles to tell Jesus what others said about Him. So they told Him this is what the Pharisees are saying about you, and this is what the Scribes are saying about you, and this is what my Rabbi says about you. I suppose that it is the same way for all of us, when it comes to saying Who Jesus is. It is easy for us to say well this is what The Catholic Moment says about you. And this is what the Vatican says about you. And this is what CNN says about you. It’s hearsay. It’s rumor. It’s outside of us. We’re not personally involved. And that’s O.K., for isn’t that exactly how we begin to learn about Who Jesus is, by what others tell us?
But then Jesus makes it much more personal, and He takes the question up a notch. But YOU, YOU!!!, Who do you say that I am? And now, it’s not a simple repetition of what of what has been heard before. It is a much more difficult and invasive question. And here’s where St. Peter shines. He says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And does St. Peter know what he is saying? Probably not. Does he understand the ramifications of what he is saying? Most definitely not! But St. Peter’s profession of Faith is extremely important and powerful. It seems to get him chosen to be the first Pope and the first leader of the people of God, the Church. St. Peter’s answer changes his relationship with Jesus forever.
How we answer that same question, “Who do you say that I am?” also determines how we relate to Jesus Christ. Is he, for example, someone worth our time on Sunday or even during the week? Is He someone that we can trust and rely on? Is He someone Who loves us, forgives us, and wants only the best for us? Is He someone Who has the authority to tell us how to live, what we should do, what we may not do? Is He someone that we look forward to spending eternity with? Who is Jesus Christ to you? Today Jesus wants each one of us to answer that question every bit as much as He wanted the first apostles to, two-thousand years ago!
Like St. Peter, can anyone of us give a complete and perfect answer to that question? Probably not. But each week, and every day, hopefully, we are getting better at answering that question. And we all do have to answer that question for ourselves. It is easy to say that Jesus is Savior, Jesus is Messiah, Jesus is the Son of God, or as we say in the Creed each week: Jesus is “God from God, light from light, true God from true God,,” etc. etc. But our answers have got to be way more than just words. Our hearts and our minds must connect to these words to make them real. We must move beyond what others have told us about Jesus, to know Him in a personal way, a way that Jesus would say has not been revealed to us by “flesh and blood”, but by the Heavenly Father. My brothers and sisters, we must make our Faith personal. We must get to know Jesus in a deeply personal way. And there’s only one way to do that, by spending time with Him in prayer. There are no shortcuts. In our prayer, may we get to know just how real this Jesus Christ really is. And may we let our relationship with Him, change each one of us!
+God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!