My Personal Reflection for this Sunday
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Readings: Isaiah 22:19-23; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16: 13-20)
“A New Name.”
I could imagine the Lord walking the streets of Caesarea Philippi and speaking with the disciples. The Lord was asking his disciples who the people think he was. As humans we put a premium on our identities because it is the only one that separates us from the others. But sometimes our perceptions of others are not as perfect as it should be. We identify ourselves and the others based on our perceptions. That is why in our reading for this Sunday we saw Jesus asking his disciples about what others say about him. Of all these discussions Simon the son of Barjona got the right answer. Simon said to Jesus: “YOU ARE THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.” Thereby Jesus blest Simon and Jesus gave him a new name. From now on Simon shall be called Peter (Petrus in Latin means Rock). And upon this rock, Christ said, “I will build my church and the netherworld [or death] shall not prevail against it. And I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, whosoever, you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whosoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” What a profound declaration from our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said it was not human wisdom or knowledge that revealed this to him but it was God himself, the one we call Heavenly Father who revealed this to Simon Peter.
For indeed, apart from God we can do nothing. Have you we given this a thought that Jesus during his ministry on earth called people who were not educated but simple fishermen. Simon Peter was fisherman. He was practically an ignorant man whose daily occupation was to catch fish in order to live day after day. But when Christ saw him he called him and said that from now on you will no longer catch fish but you will be gathering men and women. To cut the story short, Simon Peter became the leader of the Church, he became the first Bishop of Rome and together with St. Paul the apostle to the gentiles, they founded the Church of Rome. And today we are happy to be members of the Roman Catholic Church because we know that we have this connection with the apostles. For we are built on that rock. For as long we remain steadfast in our faith we shall received what the Lord has promised to us. The way to salvation is not easy. In fact it is a narrow way filled with persecutions and self-denial. For here we seek not a permanent city but we look forward and seek a city and a kingdom not built by men but by God. And with this short reflection I would like to close this with a quote from the scriptures: [Jesus said] “He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches : to him that overcometh, to him will I give the hidden manna, and will give him a white counter, and in the counter, a new name written, which no man knoweth, but he that receiveth it.” Revelations 2:17 (Douay-Rheims Version).
Happy Sunday to everyone.