TWENTY FIRST SUNDAY IN THE ORDINARY TIME, YEAR A.
23rd August 2020.
Isaiah 22:19-23; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20.
Today’s gospel tells of Jesus’ choice of Peter as the ‘rock’ or foundation of his church. The choice of Peter is entirely divine. Peter’s response – You are the Christ- was motivated by the Holy Spirit. Jesus made it clear that it was not flesh and blood that revealed to Peter the messiah, rather it was revealed by the Heavenly Father. This scenario is a conformation that those chosen by God are favoured!
It is not our preoccupation why and how Peter was chosen. It is for us to accept and cooperate with the one chosen. God can choose anyone at anytime. The second reading from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans reminds us of ‘How rich are the depths of God – how deep his wisdom and knowledge – and how impossible to penetrate his motives or understand his methods!’ It is entirely up to God whom he chooses and in what circumstance the choice is made.
The responsibility of God’s choice is fully supported by Divine assistance. God does not abandon his chosen. He specifies the mission and supports his chosen. In the first reading according to the Prophet Isaiah, God chose Eliakim son of Hilkiah in place of Shebna. He supports him with the instruction: I drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a throne of glory for his father’s house. In the gospel he says to Peter: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. God’s favour rests on his chosen in the firm of protection.
Whenever we are prompted in our hearts by the spirit to do anything for the church, we should regard it as God’s choice of us. His favour will rests on us in order to assist us. During this time of the covid-19 pandemic, God has called our cleaners and our stewards to a very important assignment to serve His faithful people in a special way. It is not clear when all these safety guidelines and distancing will end, but our stewards have exhibited a commitment that I can only attribute to God’s favour. The eagerness to continue as long as it lasts is perceivable on their faces. We give thanks to God who calls us to special assignments in his church. His favour rests on those he has chosen.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.