Homily Twenty-first Sunday Year A Faith proclaimed

By 10:53 AM

 Homily Twenty-first Sunday Year A

Isaiah in the first reading denounces Shebna because he has failed to use his position as the King’s treasurer to care for the people. In his place, Eliakim was to be chosen to be “the father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the House of Judah”. This prophecy is messianic in that Eliakim was a figure of the ideal ruler who would bring God’s true justice, love and compassion to the people.

Two Sundays ago we saw where Jesus tested Peter’s faith. Peter wasn’t sure he was seeing a ghost or Jesus walking on the water. Peter said, “If it is you, tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come.” Initially Peter’s faith allowed him to walk towards Jesus on the water, as long as he kept his faith in the person of Jesus. But when faith became fear as he took his eyes off the Lord, Peter sank.

In Today’s Gospel, we have the beginning of Peter’s public faith proclamation about Jesus. Interiorly, he believed that Jesus was the Messiah. That is why he left all to become a disciple. But private faith is good but Jesus will say “if you do not acknowledge me before others, I will not acknowledge you before my Heavenly Father.” It was important to Jesus that those who will be the foundation of his Church should be willing to profess faith in who he is to them publicly.

The twelve have been his disciples for awhile. They have heard his message of salvation. They have witnessed his power in the miracles. Is he just a Rabbi, teacher to them? Is he just another prophet? Is he just a miracle worker? So the question, “Who do you say I am?” Has companionship with him give them a different insight than what the crowds thought?

Peter’s first faith response is a grace from God, as Jesus acknowledged. Every faith statement and action is a result of a grace from God. Faith starts from God as an unmerited gift. To  leap from the known—what people think—to then speak a revealed truth is the result of grace from the Holy Spirit. Faith flows from a personal relationship with Christ.

Even though Peter spoke the truth, he didn’t fully comprehend what it meant for Jesus to be the Messiah, as we see from the episode following this. His understanding of Jesus the Christ was initially colored by the thinking of the time. He could not accept Jesus to undergo the suffering of crucifixion. In this he was a stumbling stone, not a foundation stone. Peter’s faith had to develop as it does, even he fails the test at times. The fruition of this initial faith reaches its peak in the resurrection scene in which Thomas says, “My Lord and my God!” From you are the Christ to Lord and God.

But for now, Jesus sees this faith proclamation as the foundation of Peter’s role in the the kingdom of God. “You are Peter the rock on which the Church will be built” In the first reading Elakim, because of his faithfulness to God was given the keys, which symbolize authority and power. Peter received authority and power from Jesus in his role as head of the Apostles and head of the Church.

Who do you say that I am to you, Jesus asks each of us today? Do we profess him as my personal Lord and Savior? Is  our proclamation evidenced in our daily life? Do we acknowledge him publicly or merely silently in our hearts for fear of what others may think of us?

To know about Jesus is not enough. Many people know about him. This doesn’t change hearts and lives. To know Jesus because of a personal encounter that has changed our lives is needed

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