Dear One and All,
The weeks go by just so fast, and here we are with another homilie. Just a few house keeping duties before we kick off with the Homily:- I try to get photos/pictures from the Internet that will assist the various themes running through God’s Word. Now, if you have any pics in your Document Library which you think will eventually assist our presentation, please kindly send them along to: firstname.lastname@example.org I would most certainly appreciate your involvement and assistance – Pictures speak a thousand words!. Now, have you made yourself a nice Coffee or Tea? Or something a little stronger? Let’s sit back, and enjoy our walk together with God’s Word.
During the week I had to contact Telstra three times about some problems that I was having with this and that on my Mobile, and internet Packages; nevertheless, I finally got the problems sorted out, and after each call I was asked at the end of the session to give the Management some ‘feedback’ by way of answering two simple questions. Have you noticed that many Businesses and Industrial Companies are seeking ‘feedback’ these days?. I can see what they are driving at, but don’t you think that sometimes it is a bit over the top? To be quite honest with you, some of the requests I don’t bother in responding, because at the end of the day, my affirmation will not be world-shattering, especially when I was asked to do an online feedback about a certain brand of Dog Biscuits, just today!
However, taken seriously, and serious questions being asked, it can be an important exercise. In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus requesting some ‘feedback’……who do the ‘locals’ think I am? Now let’s go deep sea diving into God’s Word, to see the implications, and ramifications of Our Lord’s request.
There is more than meets the eye in the first Reading which has a bearing on today’s Gospel. Notice that it was the Prophet Isaiah’s mission to inform the Palace Master that he was unfit for the job! Who would ever want to be the bearer of that news? Can you imagine the ‘feedback’ that the Prophet of the Lord would get in no uncertain terms? Yet, this was part of the Prophet’s vocation, to proclaim God’s Word in season, and out of Season. Look how straight to the point Our Lord was in His day? So, there is something very special within the Messenger of the News in being able to handle such criticism; seemingly it comes from that nutritious relationship with the Lord God which gives the strength.
Now that being the case, the servant would not be received most graciously in some quarters of the Palace, that is generally always the case when someone new is appointed to a special task and if they have not been performing up to standard, well that then causes other problems. So therefore the one on whom this office will be vested at the word of the Lord God, will need to have that inner strength to deal with his vocation in its totality…not just decked out in the Sash and Keys! We then see that the various ‘garment signs’ given to Eliakim indicate that his mission will be a profound one. Now, before we go any further, let’s look at the name….El iakim. I deliberately left a typing space after the EL..the name in Hebrew means….’God will set up’. Let’s never forget that a Hebrew name which has el as a prefix or a suffix, indicates that the person named embodies a God-given characteristic. Remember that Our Lord’s name was also called Emmanuel…. meaning in Hebrew, ‘God is with us’. So, in the name of this servant of the Lord, God’s special activity will come about! Further on in the text which is not part of today’s reading, God’s Word comes to pass through the negotiating skills which were lived out by Eliakim. Now let’s hang on to those couple of points as we move into the Gospel.
Jesus, surrounded by his chosen and loyal band of disciples, checks out some ‘feedback’. Well, who do the ‘locals’ say I am? Notice that the responses are a mixed bag all up, but certainly there is agreement on a Prophet! Then in putting a focus on this group, Jesus asks them..’ But, you, who do you say I am?’ With the usual kind of forwardness, Peter speaks up, ‘ You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’. Here we see Jesus saying something very special to Peter….’Peter son of Jonah, you are a happy man.’ Peter son of Jonah……does this ring some bells for you? Remember how the Prophet Jonah spent three days in solititude within the belly of the whale before he went to Preach a change of heart to the residents in the Pagan City of Nineveh? There is a word very close to Jonah in Hebrew called Yonah…meaning a Dove. Remember how it was the Dove that had the Olive sprig in its beak when Noah in the Ark spotted it? It was the bringer of new life….the waters were going down, the new start of “peace’ was beginning. So, what do you think that Jonah embodied as he went off to preach repentance? He embodied the ‘Shalom’ of the Lord God, which gave substance and shape to the message of repentance.
It was a burning message of God’s love, fired by the Spirit, and deep within the heart of the Prophet, Peter, the Disciples and us….. the embedded Cross from which new life springs forth! Peter as a walking Beatitude, was not without his faults as we know; thank the Lord for that! We do have some common ground, after all!
So, with Peter, speaking not just for himself, but for the group, the New Israel – the Church- God, given authority has been entrusted to God’s Shepherd’s, God’s Sheep. We now can see the link between the first Reading and this Gospel Passage; just as the Servant of the Palace was to be one to ‘set things up’ for God, which is God’s work, not his, Peter was entrusted to the very same mission as Jesus, together with Our Lady, and the Apostles, which empowed them, through the ongoing Pentecost within the Church, to go out to all nations. We are all Sons and Daughters of Jonah!
The question is put to us again today, but not only today; it surely is asked of us all the time, because the response that we give shapes who we are, and we continue to be one of the many hands, faces, ears, eyes and hearts of God. Our response is lived out in our ups and downs, our fall from grace and our ascent to grace; just like St.Peter! To the one who denied His Master three times; he was the very one who had the keys entrusted to him. The forward nature in Peter with his ‘gung ho’ approach to Jesus, was in tune with his daringness to follow Jesus, the one who inspired him to inspire others.
Let’s pray this weekend that we will continue to renew our response to the Lord…’ You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ and as Sons and Daughters of Jonah, may the SHALOM of the Lord God, preach the message from within us….
God Bless you and your families, and may we never forget each other while we are held in precious conversation with the Lord,
PS: Don’t forget the FUNNIES….check out the TAB on the website
PSS: I highly recommend a very inspirational, and thought provoking website hosted by Colin Lee, International Presenter, Coach in Senior Pure Maths, Science and Real life. His website is: www.inspirelibrary.com Colin and I have worked in Ministry together for a number of years, in the areas of Biblical Drama, Liturgy, Youth Ministry, Public speaking, Sacramental formation, and Ministry to the sick and infirm. This is a great website pass it onto your Teens….
OUR FAMILY PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
LEADER: We need no key to open the ears and
heart of our God who is always ready to listen to and answer our prayers.
For our Holy Father the Pope, the successor of Peter the
Rock, that he be blessed, protected and respected, we pray to the Lord: LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER
For other leaders of God’s people, especially our
bishop, priests and parish staff members, that they be wise and creative in
their leadership, we pray to the Lord:LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER
For leaders of nations, that they take special care of
the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the ill and the unemployed, we pray to the
Lord:LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER
For all of the people of this faith community, that we
use the keys of the kingdom of heaven to open the treasures of God’s great love
for us, we pray to the Lord:LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER
For all who worship in this household, that we be bold in
proclaiming that Jesus is our Lord and our God, our Good Shepherd and our
Saviour, we pray to the Lord:LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER
For our deceased parishioners, relatives and friends,
especially N. and N., that they rejoice in the full knowledge of God’s glory, we
pray to the Lord:LORD, HEAR OUR PRAYER
LEADER: All-wise, all-loving God, through the
words and works of your Son Jesus, help us to learn more about your love for us,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.