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5th August 2021

Optional Memorial of the Dedication of St. Mary Major Basilica

Nm 20:1-13,

Ps 95:1-2.6-7.7-9,

Mt 16:13-23


We know that foundations are what make something stand firm. A strong foundation, the solid ground makes structures stable. In Jesus, the Church, the Body of Christ, stands on solid ground. He is the life, the truth, and the guide of the People of God. In Him, we find fulfillment, meaning, and direction. Our faith has its basis on the resurrection of Jesus and our hope is well-founded on the words and promise of Jesus.

We have a choice where to ground our actions: we can ground them with the truth, the good and genuine values, or we can base them on mere satisfaction. Those that are genuinely valuable are connected and oriented to the truth and the good.

Two words stand out in Today’s readings: “rock” and “flesh.” In the Book of Numbers, a rock in the mountains becomes a water source that was vital for survival. In Matthew, a “human rock” becomes the foundation of the church. Yet in the gospel “flesh” indicates the limitations of human nature, unable to fully understand Jesus. The weakness of the flesh shows up also in the people’s complaints about where Moses has led them.

It seems that even Moses had his doubts, for he struck the rock not once but twice. Yet God patiently bore the people’s murmuring and the doubts of Moses. When the majority would abandon their freedom, opting to return to Egypt, with its grains, figs, and vines, God provided sweet water for them from a rock in the desert. Centuries later, when Israel was enjoying “the land flowing with milk and honey,” they proved that they could not manage prosperity nearly as well as adversity.

In the Gospel, Jesus calls Peter by two contrasting names. First, he calls him the Rock, ‘You are Peter and on this rock, I will build my church.’ But a few verses later, he calls Peter “Satan”. “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me.”

Having called Peter the rock, Jesus then calls him a stumbling stone, an obstacle, for not thinking in God’s way. The fact that Peter could be a stumbling stone does not mean that he ceased to be the rock that holds the church’s faith in unity. Peter’s role was to be both inspirational and faithful, a guide to lead and unite all Jesus’ disciples. He was the rock on which the wise can build the rock of unity and faith.

Dear people of God, like every human being, Peter was complex, had his own weakness and shortcomings in whom the wheat and weeds were mixed. In spite of his failings, Jesus appointed Peter as the rock, the focal point of the new community he came to form.

The Lord always keeps faith in us even after we have failed him. He works powerfully in and through flawed human beings. What he asks of us is that we keep trying to find and follow God’s way. Therefore, our personal relationship with Jesus should help us to grow in the knowledge of the self, hence becoming more aware of the idols we carry within, the various things we value more than the Lord and His Gospel. This relationship with the Lord is built through a life of prayer.

Dear Christians, Prayer always gives us a clean heart and a clean heart will allow us to see God in each other. And if we see God in each other, we will be able to live in peace hence sharing the joy of living with each other. May God help us to always realize His presence in our lives all the time.


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