Reflection for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time…August 27, 2023

by Carol Craven, Notre Dame Associate

First Reading: Isaiah 22:19-23   Responsorial Psalm: 138: 1-2, 2-3, 6, 8

Second Reading: Romans 11: 33-36 Gospel: Matthew 16:18

Today’s readings are about being known. In the gospel, Jesus asked, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but by 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. Whatsoever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Can you imagine yourself in this scene? How would you respond if Jesus asked you, “Who do you say that I am?” Would you say that Jesus is the Son of God, the Way, the Truth, brother, beloved, forgiving, merciful, LOVE, or something else? Who would Jesus say that you are? What would Jesus call forth in you? Would he see attributes that you do not see about yourself as he did in Peter? Would Jesus see in you, kindness, love, compassion, empathy, commitment, faithfulness, spirituality, mercy, leadership, or some other hidden quality? What would be your new awareness of self? This new awareness for Peter, and for us, creates a new identity. Jesus sees beyond appearances. He knows who we really are and calls us into a loving relationship with Him. He recognizes our gifts. So, how do we know what Jesus sees in us? We come to know what Jesus sees in us, that is often unknown to us, in silence, prayer, meditation, contemplation, and living our daily life with the question,” Who do You say that I am?” Jesus calls each of us to be who God created us to be. What an opportunity we have been given to grow in awareness of our calling! Perhaps, you will have a moment when you ask, “Who am I?” and you will hear, “You are the Beloved of God.”