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21st Sunday Year A. READINGS, REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS AND COMMENTARY. NUMBER 11.

17 Aug

Dear One and All,

Sorry that I am a day late in posting the Readings etc to you; this might happen from time to time if something crops up. Yesterday was my Mum’s 91st Birthday so seeing that we could not get a connecting flight to Shannon Airport in Ireland, and then go to the Ballybunion Beach Country Club for celebrations; we headed for the Dural Country Club instead. The reference to the Irish inclusion will make sense if you happen to follow the story in the FUNNIES. Here is a pic of one of the staff presenting Mum with Flowers last night.

I will post the REALHOMILIE on Thursday night or Friday morning as usual. I add a chapter every Monday night to the FUNNIES, about the little village in County Kerry, Ireland. These chapters are forming the basis for a NOVEL which I hope to have written by June 2012. Do enjoy God’s Word and the FUNNIES…if you subscribe, and there are 30 on our list…you will need to return to the website to log on… God Bless and Cheers,  Fr.Kev

CONTENTS OF THIS SECTION

  • Readings for the Sunday.
  • Reflective Questions. For private or group use.
  • Focusing the Gospel.
  • Connecting the Gospel.
  • Understanding Scripture.

SUGGESTION BEFORE YOU READ THE SCRIPTURES TODAY.

Try not to read just to read it and get through it. Got my drift? We can do this so easily. Take the Readings slowly….as you read, you might like to read it aloud. The sounds of the words help us concentrate and it helps us reflect as we read. Try and be aware of your breathing before you even start….it is better to be at 5 k.p.h that 50! Enable words and meanings to gently jump out at you….soothingly take note in your mind as to what teases you as you read and see God’s Word. Don’t forget that the First Reading is always linked to the Gospel…..see if you can pick up the links.

 

  First Reading: Isaiah 22:19-23

Thus says the Lord of hosts to Shebna, the master of the palace: dismiss you from your office, remove you from your post,and the same day I call on my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah.

I invest him with your robe, gird him with your sash, entrust him with your authority; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the House of Judah. I place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; should he open, no one shall close, should he close, no one shall open. I drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a throne of glory for his father’s house.

This the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM:  Psalm: Ps 137:1-3. 6. 8

R. Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.

I thank you, Lord, with all my heart, you have heard the words of my mouth. Before the angels I will bless you, I will adore before your holy temple. R.

I thank you for your faithfulness and love which excel all we ever knew of you. On the day I called, you answered; you increased the strength of my soul. R.

The Lord is high yet he looks on the lowly and the haughty he knows from afar. Your love, O Lord, is eternal, discard not the work of your hands. R.

Second Reading: Romans 11:33-36

How rich are the depths of God – how deep his wisdom and knowledge – and how impossible to penetrate his motives or understand his methods! Who could ever know the mind of the Lord? Who could ever be his counsellor? Who could ever give him anything or lend him anything? All that exists comes from him; all is by him and for him. To him be glory for ever! Amen.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he said, ‘who do you say I am?’ Then Simon Peter spoke up, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said, ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’ Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.

This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

How about going back to the First Reading and see if the link between it and the Gospel becomes more evident to you.

 REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS:::::::  POINTS TO PONDER  ‘Lord, what are you saying to me through your Holy Word today?’

  1.  Lord, what are you saying to me through your word? What response can I make to your invitation?
  2.  What strikes you as you read this Gospel today? Why?
  3.  What do you think is the meaning within God’s Word in the first Reading?
  4. In the first Reading, we see the Word of the Lord  being addressed to the Master of the Palace, through the Prophet Isaiah, and outlining his God-given responsibilities; what are some of our God-given responsibilities?
  5. Think back over your life time…when and how, have you heard God nudging you, and encouraging you to act with the grace of responsibility; where have you found support in order to carry out what has been entrusted to you?
  6.  In the opening part of the Gospel, we see Jesus doing a kind of ‘rain check’ with his close companions, as to who the ‘locals’ think he is; the question is then focused on this intimate group; as you look back over your life, that same question has been posed to you; to all of us, in different ways; when have you seen that important question asked of you?
  7.  Do you have any ideas on why Jesus gave strict orders to his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ? ( This is a tuff question; try not to think that it is too hard…you’ve got the answer deep inside you.)
  8.  From your reading and reflection, can you make out the subtle thread which runs between the first reading, and the Gospel? If, so what is it?

Try not to be afraid of this question….just quietly go back over the Gospel passage, and see what jumps out at you; is it an invitation? Is it a challenge? Let the message of God’s Word in all its richness, enter into your whole being…like sandalwood oil seeping gently into a beautiful Tasmanian oak floor, leaving behind its precious scent…..

 GOD’S WORD IS NOURISHMENT:

 Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrases

Who do people say the Son of Man is?

‘You are the Christ,’ he said, ‘the Son of the living God’.

You are Peter, the rock on which I will build my Church; the gates of hell will not hold out against it.

Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.

How rich are the depths of God – how deep his wisdom and knowledge – and how impossible to penetrate his motives or understand his methods.

to the point

What begins with a simple question ends with the building of the church! At the center is the revelation of Jesus as ‘the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ The Church can be solidly built only on the person of Jesus; the Church can stand firmly only by faith in him.

Connecting the Gospel

to Ordinary Time

At this point we are about halfway through this longer period of Ordinary Time, a time for deepening our understanding of the identity of Jesus and deepening our identity as Church.

to Christian experience

There is a tendency to think of faith in Jesus only as a personal commitment. The gospel reminds us that faith finds its deepest expression in the community of the Church.

Understanding Scripture

The Church

In the four gospels the word ‘church’ occurs only twice, and both instances are in Matthew’s gospel (16:18; 18:17). This is in sharp contrast to the rest of the NT where ‘church’ occurs 112 times. In other words, the ‘church’ is a post-resurrection reality, most likely not a concern of Jesus during his earthly ministry. Here, the prophetic aspect of the gospel comes to the foreground: the risen Christ speaks through the evangelist to the Church. The Church that emerges in the early years after the resurrection-ascension of Jesus is understood to be the intention of Jesus.

That Church is a confessing Church; it is a community of disciples which acknowledges that Jesus is ‘the Christ [= Messiah], the Son of the living God’ (16:16). Its divine origins are to be noted. First, Peter’s confession comes not from insight or intuition: it is a revelation from God (16:17). Thus, the Church comes into being through divine revelation. Second, the builder of the Church is Jesus himself and the Church is his: ‘I will build my church’ (16:18). The Church is unintelligible apart form the revelation of God and the work of Jesus Christ. These divine origins account for the Church’s ability to withstand the power of the netherworld and death (16:18).

In this Church Peter has a unique role. First, he is singularly ‘blessed’ (18:17) – the only apostle to be so blessed in any of the gospels. Second, Peter (the rock) is the foundation of the Church. This is metaphorical language; in other NT traditions the foundation is Jesus himself (e.g., 1 Cor 3:11), or the apostles as a group (e.g., Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14). The point in Matthew is to highlight Peter’s special status. This is indicated by two prerogatives given to him by Jesus: the keys of the kingdom and authority to bind and loose (16:19).

The Church will be the subject of Jesus’ fourth major sermon (ch. 18 – Sundays 23 and 24). There, internal relations will be discussed and the authority given to Peter individually will be extended to the Church as a whole.

Dear One and all,

I recommend this e-conference, just Google the details, and you will get more info.

Cheers, and God Bless, Fr.Kev

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