Scripture Reflection, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 27, 2023
Isaiah 22:19-23 Romans 11:33-36 Matthew 16:13-20
All of today’s readings remind us that God is God and we are not! At first glance, that sentence may seem harsh; but the fact remains, in this day and age it seems that more and more people tend to rely only on themselves. They celebrate their accomplishments, their intelligence, their talent and their achievements, forgetting - or perhaps not even believing - that all good gifts come from the Lord! God is the origin of all the gifts we enjoy in this world, including the talents and abilities that make us uniquely who we are.
In the reading from Isaiah, we learn that God is going to remove Shebna from his position as Master of the Palace. Elsewhere in Isaiah it says that he was “prideful”. To use a modern turn of phrase: He was full of himself!
In today’s Gospel, Jesus picks Peter to be “the rock” upon which he will build his Church. Peter is a humble man - definitely not full of himself. In fact, elsewhere in the gospels we hear Peter tell Jesus: “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8). However, this sinful man also has insight about the nature of Jesus that could only have come directly from God. He KNOWS that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. (See Matthew 16:16). And he is willing to act on that knowledge.
Today, Jesus indicates to Peter and to us, that he is constantly on the lookout for people of faith…those who put God first and believe that, with God’s unfailing love and support, each person can work with others to build God’s Reign right here on earth. And God wants US to be those people! We are called. We are Chosen! What a profound honor it is to be chosen by the one true God. Let’s think about that. Own it. And take it to prayer in the days ahead. Perhaps that prayer time will motivate us to act in support of our faith…to say “Yes” to God’s Spirit, living within each one of us, and calling us forward!
by: Bill Miller