21st Sunday OTA

Is 22: 19-23; Rom 11: 33-36; Mt 16: 13-20 

How Old Is Your Church? The list is very long, please bear with me. If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex- monk of the Catholic Church, in the year 1517. If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII in the year 1534 because the Pope would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry. If you are a Presbyterian, your religion was founded by John Knox in Scotland in the year 1560. If you are a Protestant Episcopalian, your religion was an offshoot of the Church of England founded by Samuel Seabury in the American colonies in the 17th century. If you are a Congregationalist, your religion was originated by Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.

If you are a Methodist, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744. If you are a Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your church in London in 1774. If you are a Mormon (Latter Day Saints), Joseph Smith started your religion in Palmyra, N.Y., in 1829. If you are a Baptist, you owe the tenets of your religion to John Smyth, who launched it in Amsterdam in 1605. If you are of the Dutch Reformed church, you recognize Michaelis Jones as founder, because he originated your religion in New York in 1628. If you worship with the Salvation Army, your sect began with William Booth in London in 1865. If you are a Christian Scientist, you look to 1879 as the year in which your religion was born and to Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy as its founder. If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as ‘Church of the Nazarene,” “Pentecostal Gospel.” “Holiness Church,” “Pilgrim Holiness Church,” “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” your religion is one of the hundreds of new sects founded by men within the past century.

If you are Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ the Son of God, and it is still the same Church.

The office and ministry of Our Holy Father, the Pope, goes right back to Jesus, and was founded by Jesus, as we heard in our Gospel today. There are many places in the Scripture that emphasize the preeminent position of Peter among the apostles, but there are two places where Peter’s position of leadership is spelled out more clearly than anywhere else. The one is in St. John where Jesus tells Peter after the resurrection: “Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” Also in Scripture where Peter’s position of importance is clearly emphasized is in today’s gospel. The keys Jesus said he would give Peter symbolize this authority. The keys Jesus gave Peter were not buried with him and that position of authority did not end when Peter died. It was passed on to his successors.

Jesus is the foundation stone on which the Church is founded but Our Holy Father, the Pope, is the visible human head of the Church on earth, an office and vocation founded by Jesus to guide the Church, “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.”

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis is widely now known as people’s pope. With his simple way of life he continues to inspire millions of people around the world. He is continuously asking us to pray for world peace as the world is facing too many crisis and tension because of wars and terrorism in the Middle East. Our Bishop Bradley is inviting all the faithful in our diocese to pray for peace on August 27th. Please see the bulletin insert for more info.

As Catholics and fellow Christians, we are all continuously challenged to answer the question Jesus asked in today’s Gospel: “Who do you say that I am?” When Jesus asked his disciples who do men said he was, the disciples mistakenly thought that he wanted to know his popularity rating. As all of us know, being popular is important; otherwise people might not like us. But Jesus was not interested in knowing how popular or famous he was. He was not concerned about his fame among the public: what he really wanted to know was whether each of his disciples fully understood who he was.

Jesus addresses the same question to each of us. “Who do you say that I am?” This is a personal question that demands a personal response. It is a critical question that calls us to commit ourselves one way or other. It is a decisive question whose answer will determine our entire destiny. If Jesus is truly God’s son, then, either we confess that and act accordingly or else we deny it and do our own thing.

Unless we personally experience and come to believe in Christ as the Son of the living God, not only we can’t commit ourselves to him, but also we can’t be partners in building God’s Kingdom. Building God’s Kingdom was not only entrusted to St. Peter but to every one of us. The Pope cannot run the Church on his own or on three Hail Marys. He needs you and me. But let us first make ourselves fit instruments of God’s Kingdom, by daily deepening our faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God.

If you are looking for a Joke related to the Gospel:

An old nun who was living in a convent next to a construction site heard bad language of the workers and decided to spend some time with them to correct their ways. She decided she would take her lunch; sit with the workers; She put her sandwich in a brown bag and walked over to the spot where the men were eating. Sporting a big smile, she walked up to the group and asked: “And do you men know Jesus Christ?”  They shook their heads and looked at each other. Very confused.. One of the workers looked up into the steelworks and yelled out, “Anybody up there know Jesus Christ?” One of the steelworkers yelled down, “Why?”  The worker yelled back, “Cause his mom’s here with his lunch.