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Sunday, August 27, 2017

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21st Sunday Ordinary Time

Isaiah 22:19-23
Romans 11:33-36
Psalm 138:1-3, 6, 8
Matthew 16:13-20

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the cross road

"Blest are you, Simon son of Jonah! No mere man has revealed this to you, but My heavenly Father." —Matthew 16:17

God the Father revealed to Simon that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Mt 16:16). As with all divine revelations, this was a catalyst leading to Simon's name being changed to Peter (Mt 16:18), Jesus building His Church on Peter (Mt 16:18), Peter being given the authority symbolized by the keys to the kingdom of heaven (Mt 16:19), and Jesus insisting on the cross as the essence of discipleship (Mt 16:24). Peter naturally did not understand all these further revelations, and did not initially accept the cross (Mt 16:22).

The Lord also reveals Himself to us. For example, He may penetrate our hearts with the message of His mercy. This revelation is a catalyst leading us to realize the necessity of giving mercy (Mt 5:7). This implies taking up the cross of forgiving and loving even our enemies. Once again, a divine revelation transports us to the cross. Then we are faced with Simon Peter's dilemma. We are pleased to receive some revelation from the Lord, but we may be reluctant to accept the message of the cross. Will we embrace the cross, or hear the words of Jesus to Peter: "Get out of My sight, you satan! You are trying to make Me trip and fall. You are not judging by God's standards but by man's"? (Mt 16:23) By faith, in love, take up your daily cross and follow Jesus (Lk 9:23).

Prayer:  Father, may I proclaim Christ crucified, the power and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24).

Promise:  "How deep are the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How inscrutable His judgments, how unsearchable His ways!" —Rm 11:33

Praise:  "The Lord is King; let the earth rejoice" (Ps 97:1). Alleluia to the risen King of Kings!

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 27, 2017

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