Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our first reading is taken from the Prophet Isaiah. Shebna was a powerful man in the court of King Hezekiah in Judah, 700 years before Christ. Next to the king, Shebna had the most powerful position in the kingdom. This power went to Shebna’s head and he used his position to exploit the poor and the innocent in order to make himself very rich. God said to the prophet Isaiah that Shebna needed to be replaced by a person with integrity. This passage is quoted because of the reference to the key of the House of David. Keys are symbols of authority.
Our Gospel today speaks about authority. The scriptures emphasize the preeminent position of Peter among the apostles. Peter’s position of leadership is found in St. John where Jesus tells Peter after His resurrection: Feed my lambs, feed my sheep.” Today’s Gospel emphasizes the importance of Peter’s position. After Christ, the Holy Father(the Pope) is the chief shepherd and head of the Church. 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. The leadership position of Peter would remain as part of the structure of Christ’s community of believers. Every time the Mass is celebrated, we pray for our Pope Francis and for our Bishop Gregory. Let us continue to ask the Lord to watch over them and keep them safe.