Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary time

SHARING SPIRITUAL FOOD: St. Catherine of Siena, Ripon, WI  - Fr. Davies Edassery Sac

OT XXI [A] Sunday: Is 22:19-23; Rom 11:33-36; Mt 16:13-20

We might call this Sunday “Power Sunday” because the main theme of all three readings is that God is the Source of all authority. God shares His authority with elected civil rulers to serve the people and with the Pope and the other Church leaders for the material and spiritual welfare of His children.

Scripture summarized: The first reading, from Isaiah, tells us how God hates unfaithful and selfish officials. He removed the proud “master of the royal palace” from his office, taking from Shebna the power and responsibility of which he had proven unworthy, and gave both to the humble and faithful Eliakim. The robe, the sash, and the keys are the insignia of this office. St. Paul praises God for the depth of His wisdom, knowledge, and correct judgments, asserting that He is the Source of all authority on earth and in Heaven. Today’s Gospel passage shows us how Peter confesses Jesus as his Lord and Savior and how Jesus, in turn, approves Peter’s words and gives him teaching and ruling authority in his Church. Thus, Jesus establishes a “Magisterium” in his Church to serve the spiritual and physical needs of the Church members. By Jesus’ statement, “I will give you the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven,” he gives Peter and his successors the power to bind and to loose in the Church, and the assurance that their decisions will be ratified in Heaven.

Life messages: 1) We need to accept and experience Jesus as our Lord and personal Savior: First, we should accept Jesus as the Son of God and our personal Savior. This means that we are accepting Jesus as our Good Shepherd, our Divine Savior and our Redeemer. Next, Jesus should become a living experience for us – as our God protecting us and providing for us in our life’s journey, loving us, forgiving us, helping us, and transforming our lives and outlook. This is made possible by our listening to Jesus through the daily, meditative reading of the Bible, by talking to Jesus through daily, personal, communal and liturgical prayers, by offering our lives on the altar with Jesus whenever we participate in the Holy Mas, by receiving him in holy Communion, and by leading exemplary lives as we cooperate with His grace. Our personal experience of Jesus will also lead us to praise and thank God in all the events of our lives, both good pleasant and painful, realizing that God’s loving hands are behind everything.

2) We need to surrender our lives to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. That surrender requires that we freely give all areas of our lives to Jesus and radiate to all around us Jesus’ sacrificial agápe love, unconditional forgiveness, overflowing mercy, and committed service. The joy, the love, and the peace that we find in Jesus need to be reflected in the way we live our whole lives. We also surrender our lives to Jesus by rendering humble, loving service to others with the strong conviction that Jesus is present in every person.

To really know is to be transformed by what one knows: A dialogue between a recent convert and an unbelieving friend: “So you have been converted to Christ?” “Yes.” “Then you must know a great deal about him. Tell me: what country was he born in?” I don’t know.” “What was his age when he died?” “I don’t know.” “How many sermons did he preach?”I don’t know.” “You certainly know very little for a man who claims to be converted to Christ!” “You are right. I am ashamed at how little I know about him. But this much I know. Three years ago, I was a drunkard. I was in debt. My family was falling to pieces. My wife and children would dread my return. That’s what Jesus did when I turned to Him and asked for help.”