Reflection for 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
First Reading: Isaiah 22:19-23
Second Reading: Romans 11:33-36
Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20
“But who do you say that I am?” While Jesus asked his disciples this question, He also asks each one of us. The apostles had the advantage of listening to Jesus and watching Him perform many miracles. What about us? While we don’t see Jesus face to face, we still can listen to Him. We hear Him speak to us through the Sacred Scriptures by the power of the Holy Spirit. We hear Him speak to us in our time of prayer in the silence of our hearts.
How is Jesus visible to us today? When we find Jesus at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Eucharist, we experience His Real Presence. Jesus said that when two or three gather in his name (Mt18:20), His presence is with us. Jesus said: “I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me!” (Mt25:40) Jesus is present to us when we minister to those in need. Jesus said: “Come to me, all of you labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.” (Mt11:28-29) Thus, Jesus is present to us when we are tired, depressed, confused, lonely, frightened etc.
St. Paul in today’s second reading from the Letter to the Romans writes: How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor. We know that our God is a mystery that we don’t try to solve, but we enter into more deeply through the course of our lives. We who are finite are trying to understand the infinite – God whose love knows no boundaries or limitations. God whose mercy is endless and always available to the contrite heart.
Our first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah tells us: I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim’s shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut; when he shuts, no one shall open. Eliakim was given the authority to make binding decisions. Jesus passes His authority onto Peter, the first pope. 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. While storms may rage around and within our Catholic church, Jesus promises that the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
May God bless us all always!