Tìm Kiếm

25 tháng 8, 2014

Homily for the XXI Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A (Aug 24, 2014)

Who Do You Say That I Am?”
(Mt 16:15)

Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The message of the Word of God for this 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, can be found in the question by Our Lord Jesus Christ to Saint Peter and his friends: “Who do you say that I am?” 
Christ also asks this same question to you and me because we, similar to the apostles, are Christians, followers of Christ.
We can know Christ when we read the Holy Bible.  It is in the Holy Bible that the identity of Christ is written.  He is the Messiah, the Savior of the world Whom God sent to save us from sin and death.  Thanks to His sacrifice on the Cross, we are freed from the hands of the forces of evil, and become children of the Almighty God, and have a share in the Kingdom of heaven.
We can know Christ better when we listen to the Church that teaches us what to believe—for example, that Christ Jesus is true God and true Man, that He is present now and forever in His Word, in the Sacraments, and in the community united in His Name, and in each and one of us, His believers.  And the Church also teaches us what to do in order to provide visible evidences of our faith in Him Who so loved us that He died for us.
Knowing Christ as the Lord, the Savior, and God Whom the Holy Bible and the Church teach us always remains the very essential foundation for our faith in Him.
However, this knowledge from books and other people is of little help until it becomes personal.  In other words, this academic knowledge of Christ is not much different from that of some important things and people.  Our knowledge of Christ needs to go down from our head to our heart.  Knowledge of Christ through our mind which reduces Him into a mere concept, great and praiseworthy though, stays lifeless and useless in terms of our communion with Him in love and grace. 
Therefore, not only do we need knowledge of Christ to find the Way and the Truth, we also need love of Christ in order to enter a deep and intimate friendship with Him, and thus to have the Life that will never end.
“Who do you say that I am?” means that in your view and feeling and experience who Christ is, what role He plays in your daily life, what you would choose to be your vital value when you have only option, one chance.
“Who do you say that I am?” 
Whether or not you will be wise and strong enough to give the right answer which affects your life both here on earth and there in heaven depends on how often and how much you are interested in approaching Christ personally through prayer and service Him present in the poor, the suffering around you.
“Who do you say that I am?”
This remains an open question and a big challenge for you and for me.
In order to answer this question correctly and completely, our human knowledge, our human feelings, our human experiences need something more essential and powerful.  We need God’s gift of faith without which we cannot surpass imperfections and limitations of our human nature in the face of the identity of Christ Who yesterday, today and forever remains the same great mystery. 
This is the reason why Christ told Saint Peter after the latter professed his faith: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.”