Homily: Twenty-first Sunday Year A To him be honor for ever

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Homily: Twenty-first Sunday Year A

Reading 1: Shebna, though appointed as head of the palace, was more focus on himself, rather than the needs of the people and the will of God. Eliakim was a nobody in the eyes of others. But God states that he will choose Eliakim to be the master of the palace and will clothe him with authority. He would then care for the people and give right judgment. He will act rightly.

 

Shebna was governor of the people. Because of pride he was rejected by God. Shebna also favored alliance with Egypt, something God had warned against. On the other hand, Eliakim was faithful and trustworthy. Shebna’s pride was evident, when he had a tomb erected for himself as a large memorial to his greatness.

 

The two qualities that Eliakim had and Shebna lacked: he was a servant of God and he had a father’s heart.

 

In the Book of Revelation Jesus is said to be the Key of David, who shuts and no one opens, who opens and no one shuts. As the Key of David Jesus has opened for us the gift of sharing in the life of God through his death and resurrection. Jesus is also the gate of heaven through whom we have salvation. Eliakim is a foreshadowing of Jesus, who is the Master, Lord of Heaven, the beloved servant, Son of the Father, our redeemer and protector.

 

Gospel: There are two major parts of today’s Gospel. First of all, Jesus, after discipling the twelve for some time wanted to know what have they learned about him. He wasn’t interested in what the crowds said, but where were the twelve in their understanding of who Jesus was. So he asks who do you say I am?

 

Peter blurted out the truth, “You are the Christ, the Son of God”. Jesus acknowledges the accurateness of the response, but tells Peter he came to this by the grace and inspiration from the Father. We know from subsequent statements and actions of Peter that, though he spoke the truth, he didn’t fully comprehend its full meaning. For him the Christ, the Messiah, would be a victorious, political figure, who would restore the Davidic Kingdom and defeat the Romans. Jesus will have to rebuke him and tell him that the Messiah would suffer, die and rise again, establishing the eternal Kingdom of God. Peter’s confession is the first part of the message. Just as Peter confesses the truth about Jesus, so each of us is called to make our own confession publicly.

 

The second part links us to the first and second readings. God chooses Eliakim, someone who was a nobody in the eyes of others, and made him governor, giving him the authority and power of the office. Jesus chose Simon in spite of his many short comings, past, present and future and made him the head of his Church, giving him the authority and power of the office. Just as God revealed the identity of Jesus to Peter, God chose and empowered him with a new office.

 

Reading 2: Paul stands in awe of the reality of God, of the Otherness of God. At the same time, he sees his own imperfection, sinfulness and brokenness. But because of who God is and who calls Paul to be in love, the response that flows from this double awareness is “To him be glory forever.”

 

What do we do during Mass at the conclusion of the Eucharistic prayer? Having acknowledge the otherness of God, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, the changing of bread and wine into his Body and Blood and offering this gift with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit to the Father in thanksgiving for all that God has and is doing in our life, the priest concludes in our name: “Through him, with him and in him all glory and honor is yours almighty Father forever and ever.” We respond: Amen. This is worship in spirit and truth acceptable to God.

 

God has chosen us who are nobodies and has made us his sons and daughters. We did nothing to deserve this gift. With his call comes the need for a response. What response can we give him except being the best person we can be in thanksgiving for the gift of himself to us.  Our response is not to be afraid or ashamed of being his son and daughter, acknowledging Jesus as the Christ, our Lord and Savior. Our life as a Christian is forever public not private, regardless of the consequences or reactions from others.  Not only does Jesus ask us the question: Who do you say I am to you? But the world asks the same question: Who you say Jesus is to you? Our speech and actions will be our response.

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