The Word in other Words

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T H E  W O R D
21th Sunday in Ordinary Time - A
August 24, 2014

Is 22: 15.19-23

Thus says the Lord, the GOD of hosts:
Up, go to that official,
master of the palace,
I will thrust you from your office
and pull you down from your station.
On that day I will summon my servant
Eliakim, son of Hilkiah;
I will clothe him with your robe,
gird him with your sash,
confer on him your authority.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and to the house of Judah.
I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder;
what he opens, no one will shut,
what he shuts, no one will open.
I will fix him as a peg in a firm place,
a seat of honor for his ancestral house.

Rom 11: 33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!
                “For who has known the mind of the Lord
                or who has been his counselor?”
                “Or who has given him anything 
                that he may be repaid?”
                For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever.

Mt 16: 13-20

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked is disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah.

I N  O T H E R  W O R D S

   Do you know what your name means? Why did your parents choose for you the particular name that identifies you? Perhaps, you were named after a saint who is celebrated on the day you were born. Or, you were named after a celebrity. Some people even combine several names for their child. My parents named me EDWIN because, shortly before I was born, human beings were able to land on the moon for the first time. One of the astronauts was Edwin Aldrin. In his honor, I was given the name I have today. By the way, my name means “wealthy or rich friend”.

   In today’s Gospel reading, Simon, son of Jonah, receives a new name from Jesus. The name Simon means “to hear, to listen”. Simon is he who hears. Jesus presents two questions to his followers. The first one has to do with public opinion: Who do people say that the Son of Man is? Many of the disciples were able to disclose what people were thinking and saying about Jesus. But Jesus would go further in his inquiry. He was very interested in what his disciples were thinking about him. So he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Jesus was expecting more from them because they had been journeying with him and had been given the privilege to share his life day and night for a few years. At this point, the eager voices of the disciples turned into a disappointing hesitation and silence. They were not really sure who Jesus was whom they were following. To save the group from total embarrassment, Simon declared that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Jesus would then praise Simon for his answer and would give him the name Peter (which means “Rock”) upon which his Church would be built. Simon Peter, however, could not boast of what he said because the truth is, it did not come from him. It was the fruit of divine inspiration. True to the meaning of his name, Simon was attentive “to hear” the heavenly Father’s revelation regarding the true identity of Jesus.

   In spite of our limitations and weaknesses, we can be channels of God’s message if we know how to listen to the voice of the Spirit, if we are humble enough to acknowledge that, alone and unaided, we are prone to misunderstand the real value of people, events, and signs that point to the presence of the Kingdom of God in our midst. Led by the Spirit, however, we discover that the Messiah is the son of a carpenter, and that we have the mission to invite others to encounter and love Him who is our Life and our All.

– Fr. Edwin Fernandez, SVD (DWC, Vigan, Ilocos Sur)


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