The Gospel for today, the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, speaks of truth and power, exercised in love for the well-being of the world and all its peoples.
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.
- What tests the integrity of the Church?
- What tests your integrity as a Christian?
- How do you serve the integrity of the Church?
- How do you imitate Christ?
Who we say that Jesus is should lead us also to a more confident knowledge of who the others are who surround us. If he is Son of God, we are children of God. Each one of us, a brother or sister to Christ; each one, with us, a child of God.
And each one of us, and all those around us, is loved by God our Father – loved by God even as Jesus comes to save us from our lack of humanity.
Now Peter in his turn is called to love the lambs, love the sheep.
And that call is made to us too. We do not share in precisely the same pastoral ministry of Peter. But in our ways we, too, are called to love each and every person, that through our love, sacrament of Christ’s love, we (even we) might help them grow in their humanity, in their likeness to Christ.
A prayer attributed to St Francis, helps us to bring to God in prayer our need and desire to be more like Christ.
The Peace Prayer
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Carving of St Peter in the cloister of the Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur d’Aix-en-Provence.
(c) Allen Morris, 2014