Homily 21st Sunday Ordinary Time year A August 26/27 2017
The question that Jesus asks Peter in the Gospel today is a good question for us to answer as well. Who do you say that Jesus is? Do you call Him a friend, or a brother, or Lord? Do you call Him the Child Jesus and love Christmas most of all? Is he a peacemaker, a healer, a wise man? The answer of course is He is all of the above. But the way we answer that question on a personal level, reveals more about who we are, than who God is. If, for us, Jesus is a peacemaker, then chances are we are people who believe that peace is desperately needed in our lives, our families, and in this world.
Jesus asks Peter this question to reveal to Peter, to all the disciples, and to us, what exactly Peter believes. And what we believe affects how we live! Our beliefs about Christ affect our thoughts, actions, and decisions as we go about our day. Our beliefs mold us into the person that God wants us to be and reveal our purpose and mission in the church and in the world.
After Peter answered the question, Jesus entrusted him with the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus gave Peter a mission, to be the leader of the 12 disciples, the first Pope, the leader of the church throughout the world. Peter was not chosen because he answered the question perfectly or because he was perfect, but because his belief showed Jesus that, despite his imperfections, he would do what it takes to lead the church towards God.
Jesus has given each of us keys as well. He has entrusted us with a mission and purpose, great or small, both in the church and in the world.
In prayer, God asks each of us, who do we say that He is? When we learn how to answer, we learn how to listen and to obey His will in our lives. Then, we ask for the courage to accept this mission, to take the keys entrusted to us, and in our own unique way, to bring the love of God into the church, and to everyone we meet throughout our days.