St. Augustine Catholic Church
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Times
Doing the will of God can be very difficult for some in today’s society because many have trouble relinquishing authority over themselves to others. Parents have trouble getting respect. Police have trouble getting respect. Teachers have trouble getting respect and God is getting very little.
We are in a time when God has told many that first, He is granting us mercy. Then he will exercise His judgement and give us His justice. A good analogy would be a parent giving a disrespectful child a spanking. Well, some have wondered and rightly so, whether or not the Covid 19 virus is a spanking from God.
Let us look at today’s scriptures. Our first reading is from the book of Isaiah. The heading of this book is called, “The Book of Judgement”. Each of the chapters deals with God’s unhappiness with His people. In today’s reading, God is angry at a leader who has assumed that from his position as leader, he is entitled to certain perks. God essentially says that is for Me to decide whether or not you are worthy. In Wednesday’s first reading, God’s words to Ezekiel are, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, . . . Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been pasturing themselves!”
In our second reading of St. Paul to the Romans, St. Paul says, “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor.” God is far above us all. He is our creator and our Redeemer and loves us beyond all understanding.
In today’s Gospel from St. Matthew, Jesus asks the apostles, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” The apostles answer, “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah and one of the prophets.” But Simon Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus seemed astonished and said, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Heavenly Father. And so, I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven.” Please take the time to read this in full at home from Matthew 16:13-20.
Throughout all of our readings today, we are encouraged to understand that God is in charge of all. We are compelled to listen to and follow the Word of God. God led the Jews out of Egypt following a cloud column during the day and a column of fire at night. This column of fire provided all of the light needed for them to see. The book of Numbers tells us that the number of Jews was approximately 603,000. This is a staggering number that God was leading to their freedom. As God had chosen Moses, so He chose Peter to lead His Church. But in our current times, so many have fallen off the path God has chosen for us and like the Jews who left Egypt following Moses, many in our world refuse to obey.
Does God have to send us another flood to get our attention? Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have been chosen to help bring others back into the faith. God gave us a great gift of faith and a strong heart to know what is right. We must lead by example. We must lead by love, of both God and man. We must pray unceasingly for Grace for non-believers and weak believers. We must pray for God’s mercy. We must seek His forgiveness and thank Him for all of His love and kindness. Our God is an awesome God. His love and forgiveness overshadow all. Now is our time to overwhelm Him with our love.
Love, Deacon Ed