29TH JUNE 2021
2 TIMOTHY 4:6-8.17-18 MATTHEW 16:13-19
BLESSED ARE YOU SIMON SON OF JONAH BECAUSE FLESH AND BLOOD HAS NOT REVEALED THIS TO YOU BUT MY HEAVENLY FATHER.
We preachers have the task of explaining the Word of God to you so that it can strengthen your faith and change your life. If that is our work, how do we do it? Most of the time we do it by word of mouth and by writing .
As we speak to you, we tend to tell you what you should do, this means that in another way, we tell you what you do not do. It is as if we take you on a guilt trip making you admit or see that you do not lead lives that confess Jesus as the Christ, the son of the living God the way Peter did in today's Gospel passage when Jesus asked his disciples, " Who do people say the Son of Man is? "
We make you see and know that there is a gap between what you do, hear and experience during Mass and the lives you lead outside the confines of Mass. That is why we preachers will insist on this aspect by telling you to be attending Mass, and not just attend but also receive the Eucharist during Mass, and recieve other sacraments.
You will notice that we use the phrase you should or you should not, and we point out what you should not do, for example, you should not steal, you should not bring your child for baptism then disappear from church plus many other things that you don't do.
When we say all these, are we able to see the good that is in you? Peter, who in Matthew 14:22-32 nearly drowned in the lake in the wee hours of the morning due to little faith is the same Peter who in today's Gospel passage is able to recognize and confess Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God for now, in just this moment, a confession that makes Jesus tell him, " Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
After this confession from Peter and blessing from Jesus, Peter will go on to completely misunderstand what it means for Jesus to be the Messiah ; he will later resist Jesus' intention to turn himself over to the authorities, and he will eventually deny and desert Jesus, but for now, in just this moment, he gets things right by confessing Jesus to be the Messiah through God's revelation to him.
Despite our confusions, our fears,our weakness, our lack of not doing what our faith dictates, our lack of not doing what the church teaches,despite our busy schedules.. let us pause, notice and name where God is at work in our lives and in our faith the way God worked in Peter.
The encounter between Jesus and Peter is an opportunity for us to see that there are moments when we confess, when we do something right, when we perceive more of God's purpose than previously, when things come together if only briefly, and when we sense God's spirit at work in us and among us.
Today it is not about the moments when you get things wrong in the different spheres of your life, faith included but it is about the moments when you get things right because God is working in you, no wonder Jesus does not remind Peter that he nearly drowned in the lake due to little faith.
This conversation between Peter and Jesus teaches us that Jesus also came to show us what is possible, and so rather than give into the threat of disease, Jesus healed. Rather than surrender people to demons,Jesus showed compassion. Rather let people starve because there is not enough to satisfy all, Jesus fed people who were hungry. Rather than remind Peter that he had little faith that nearly drowned him, Jesus tells him he is blessed. You are good and it is possible to be good. Let's thank God for that.