WE STILL CAN ASK FOR MORE REVELATION FROM THE LORD
(A biblical reflection on the 21st ORDINARY SUNDAY, 21 August 2011)
Gospel Reading: Mt 16:13-20
First Reading: Is 22:19-23; Psalms: Ps 138:1-3,6,8; Second Reading: Rom 11:33-36
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He asked his disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then He strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that He was the Christ. (Mt 16:13-20 RSV)
Who was Jesus? A prophet? A moral teacher? The founder of a new religion? Answers varied just as much in Jesus’ day as they do in ours. What about you? How do you respond when Jesus asks, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mt 16:15)? An even better question is, “How do you know Jesus is who you say He is?”
Peter told Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son the living God” (Mt 16:16). But how did he know this? By revelation! Jesus told him, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Mt 16:17). What tremendous joy Peter must have felt as Jesus confirmed his proclamation that He was indeed the Messiah. Not only was Peter standing in the presence of God; he was also blessed with the deep knowledge of who Jesus is! He had come face-to-face with the long-awaited Savior of all humankind! How blessed Peter was! But we, too, can come into this same understanding of God’s love.
According to Pope John Paul II, the expression ‘flesh and blood’ is a reference to man and the common way of understanding things. In the case of Jesus, the common way is not enough. A grace of ‘revelation’ is needed, which comes from the Father. (At the Beginning of the New Millennium, 20).
It is incorrect, however, to think that divine, supernatural revelation is something God gives to just a few, or only in small pieces. For God loves revealing Jesus to us. Just think of how new parents never feel tired talking about their children. God is not all that different. He pours out His Spirit on us so that our very desire for revelation about Jesus will grow – to the point where we will actually expect to see Jesus’ actions and hear His voice during the day. Even if you have known moments of revelation in the past, God wants to give you much more: “insight into the mystery of Christ” (Eph 3:4), and the confidence to walk in His presence all day long.
It is encouraging to know that despite this moment of revelation, Peter still messed up – a lot! It is even more encouraging that Peter’s mistakes made him hunger for more revelation. Like Peter, even when we are painfully aware of our weaknesses, we still can ask for more revelation from the Lord. We surely cannot come to the fullness of contemplation of the Lord’s face by our own efforts alone, but by allowing grace to take us by the hand.”
At Mass today, let us ask God to reveal Jesus – the Messiah and Son of God – to us. Let us quiet our minds and open our hearts to his revelation. As we draw near to God and thank and praise Him in the Eucharistic prayer, He can reveal Himself more and more. No matter how far along we are in our walk with the Lord, there is always much more to discover about His love for us and His plan for our lives.
Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant me a fresh revelation of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, I want to know You more, so that I can give even more of You away to others. Amen.
Jakarta, 18 August 2011
A Christian Pilgrim