21ST SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
At the end of next week the youngsters start to go back to school, I can just see my mother at the bottom of the stairs shouting up to us ‘Will you get up out of your beds its 8.00 and the bus will be away without you’!!! we didn’t want to get up. There was always something reassuring about another school year beginning because all the clubs etc that closed for the summer break would reopen and the area would get busier again. So much has changed since my mother stood at the bottom of the stairs trying to get us out of bed to get going again for September. It has been a long and eventful 30 years since I was at school but I don’t think I would want my life to be any other way that the way it is at the present time with god and my family as central points in the ever changing world.
In The Gospel reading we have this weekend we hear Jesus asking the question WHO DO YOU SAY I AM? It is a powerful question to ask anyone. Jesus firstly asks the apostles who do the people say I am they told him that the people thought that he was John the Baptist, or Elijah or maybe even one of the prophets. But then Jesus asks the question of those closest to him his disciples as today he asks you and me WHO DO YOU SAY I AM? When Jesus puts his question to Peter, and to us, he isn’t asking about public opinion. He is asking Peters opinion in the same way he is asking us for our answer to his question WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?
Peter gave the right answer to Jesus’ question, when he said ‘You are the Christ,’ he said, ‘the Son of the living God. Peter got it right and went on to become the rock on which the church was founded Jesus gives the keys to the kingdom of heaven to Peter and through his successors right down to Pope Francis in our present time. Jesus is the one who had come to liberate not only those enslaved by Rome, but all who are poor and oppressed. He can liberate those diminished by sin, dominated by colonial powers, oppressive national debt, violence and enslavement of any kind. His liberating power was handed on to Peter and his companions. If Jesus was to ask us the question today who do you say I am what would we say in answer? Throughout history, people have attempted to answer this question. Today it is popular for people to simply make something up, to make of Jesus whatever occurs to them, is convenient or “believable.” I think C.S. Lewis put it best: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn’t be a great moral teacher. He’d be either a lunatic- on a level with a man who says he’s a poached egg – or else he’d be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. We often question God’s judgments or ways and sometimes rather negatively. As we re-think the place of Jesus in our lives, may we come to know the security of being in God’s hands through the suffering of Jesus’s hands on the cross. May we find comfort in the continual workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives. May we rejoice in the abundant love of our Triune God