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August 21, 2020

Gospel Reflection

From the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

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.

After reading the Gospel, is there anything in particular that stands out for you? Consider the following questions.


I think about my life:
  • What is God asking me to listen to?
  • What does God want me to pay attention to?
  • What is God prompting, directing, leading and guiding me to in this reading?
I think about my community and the world:
  • What is God asking of us at this time?
  • What is God wanting us to attend to in our community and our world?
  • What is God prompting, directing, leading and guiding us towards?

This Gospel reminds us that the Church is built on the foundation of faith that is Jesus Christ. Peter announces the core of our faith, that Jesus is God’s only Son.

It is important for us to read this Gospel and the one that follows next week as two parts of a single story. These readings are a turning point in Matthew’s Gospel. The first part we hear Jesus name Simon Peter as the rock upon which he will build his Church. Next week we will hear Jesus call this same Simon Peter “Satan” when he reacts negatively to Jesus’ prediction about his passion and death. Quite the contrast!

The first part today is a huge step forward for Simon and his companions. As we shall see, it is not yet a total recognition of his identity or mission, but it is an exciting moment in their relationship with Jesus.

“And you” Jesus says, “who do you say I am?” It was a moment of truth, a special moment in the disciples relationship with Jesus. And Simon speaks up, “You are the messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Here, the focus immediately shifts to Simon where he is praised for his insight, but Jesus makes it clear that it comes from divine inspiration.

Am I open to divine inspiration as I go about my day? Or now during this time of prayer?

Am I open to Jesus’ question, “who do you say I am?” 

Can I spend some time now contemplating this question, who is Jesus for me?

We give witness to who Jesus is in our lives, not only by what we say but about how we let Jesus change and reconfigure our priorities.

Am I willing for this to take place throughout the week ahead?

Where might Jesus be prompting me to change?

Am I being asked to look at my priorities and consider whether they need to be reconfigured?

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