Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020: Cover Art, Column, Prayers of the Faithful

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Sunday August 23, 2020

Dear Believers in the Christ,

Since COVID-19, many people, especially those who are alone, are coming to grips with past regrets and their past choices and decisions that have not turned out well. I am amazed at what arises in our hearts about our bitterness of the past and the sadness about how our lives have turned out. This seems to be common experience, of realizing life has not turned out the way we had planned. Suddenly we are aware we need God, even when some people no longer trust any institution.

Who is Jesus for you? What is your relationship with him and how would you define him? Our faith invites us into a relationship and not just doctrine. We need to know Jesus not just know about Jesus. This is an important distinction. This understanding of Jesus can change us, our families and the Church.

The gospel today, Matthew 16:13-20, reveals this question from the mouth of Jesus. He asks one of the most important questions of his life on earth, “Who do you say that I am?” In this text, Peter understands who Jesus is, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This is the beginning of a new relationship between Jesus and Peter. Peter then receives the keys to the Kingdom of God. Peter is called upon to lead, to put his life on the line as Jesus did.

We cannot be Catholics in name only. We can certainly memorize texts; learn about issues in the Catechism, but the grace of knowing Jesus, to really know him, changes our lives. The scriptures proclaimed in the Mass reveal grace that invites us into relationship with Christ Jesus. Grace floods our lives when the words are opened up in the Mass. Jesus is present in the Word, really present to the aches and pains of our lives.

We belong to Christ Jesus in the authority of our baptism. Our hearts yearn for his presence. We are called to simply be open to receive his love and mercy. We often put up obstacles to receive him. We may think we are not good enough, or moral enough. Our pride gets in our way when we hold up all the obstacles of our hearts to hide his presence. We even blame Jesus sometimes for the outcomes of our lives rather than allowing him to simple enter the mystery of our suffering.

Jesus offered Peter the authority to create something new on earth. Jesus is still offering us the opportunity to create the Church, to become the Church, to live the Church on the earth. From our openness to others, from our willingness to serve the lost and forgotten, from our ability to forgive others and ourselves, from moments of love and acceptance, we come to realize our relationship with Jesus.

I invite you this week to enter into the question Jesus is asking of us today, “Who do you say that I am?” Sit in quiet prayer. Believe he places the answer within you. Hope that your answer may find its way to the surface of your life in how you live, love and serve. We cannot hold Jesus at a distance or think he must be for the holy, the ultra pious and well deserving. Seize his love for you.

Jesus invites us to create something new, just as he invited Peter. Who knows how love within our lives will change the world? Give in and allow Jesus to be in relationship with you.

God give you peace,

Fr. Ron

 

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 23, 2020

Let us pray for Pope Francis, that he may lead with genuineness of faith, and hope for the poor and afflicted. May he restore peace within our Church.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people who have given up on the Church during these months of pandemic, that they may be guided by the Holy Spirit and be given hope in their weariness.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our friends who have moved out of state or across town, those who have changed jobs or careers, and for all who are adjusting to major life changes.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for all Christians, that unity and harmony may be the gift of all who follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ as modeled by the saints of our past.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for people who face depression and loneliness during these months of pandemic, that they may realize the comfort of Christ Jesus and the concern from our communities.

We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for our beloved dead and for those who grieve the loss of family members and friends. In this Mass…

We pray to the Lord.

 

1 thought on “Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020: Cover Art, Column, Prayers of the Faithful

  1. Jesus you are my life and my salvation. Take me by the hand and lead me, fill my heart with your Love, instill hope and help me walk with you. Thank you Father Ron.

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