Mass for Sunday 24 August 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the Gospel we have just read we see a direct contrast made between the opinions of people at Peter’s profession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.  Peter was a weak man who would later deny Our Lord and would be forgiven.  Yet to him was given the role of being the foundation of our faith with the entrustment of the keys. 

This, of course, reminds us that we are not just a community wandering aimlessly with human friendship along the road of life.  We are God’s people on a journey towards eternity, where because we are the works of his hand God loves us and leads us to him in the very tangible acknowledgement by Peter of his faith in Jesus and awareness that the divinity is near to our humanity and that we live the life of grace through baptism and nourished by the Sacraments.

So we are not just following what is common opinion, but we are drawn by the magnetism of a personal relationship with Christ.  The power of the keys which Peter is given of binding and loosing, is a reminder of how God’s merciful love reaches into human life and guides us in a way in which we will be successful on our journey.

In our parish or community the keystone is our relationship with Jesus Christ, our faithfulness to prayer, and the way in which we allow God into our lives, walking with him at every moment.  We remember clearly that we have a unity in Christ, a call to holiness, a call embraced by people from all over the world because it is the encounter with God and humanity founded on the Apostles so that we stand tall on the shoulders of those whose faith has endured and our priests and leaders in the Church who have nourished that faith with conviction and reverence. 

Prayer, sacramental life, meditation on the Scriptures are primary.  Flowing from that is a deeper faith in God, a hope that what we do, enlightened by Christ, will enrich the world in which we are and a love for God which echoes in a Christlike love for our fellow human beings.

As I have often said before, this is an attitude which sees others as part of us, which reaches out to those who are burdened and needy and which challenges us to go the extra mile after the example of the one who loved us.

The rock of our faith coming from the Apostles is our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, nurtured by the Eucharist and the Scriptures.  God’s wisdom and knowledge are profound because everything that exists comes from God, is made by him and comes back to him.

Today the Church encourages us to keep a clear vision of where we are going on our journey and not to be distracted by a quest for earthly things, which never satisfy in a lasting way.  It is by saying ourselves that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and by inviting him into our lives that we will find true happiness and peace even in the midst of challenge and adversity.

May our clear sight of Christ, our deep awareness of his presence and work be the light which guides us on our way and makes us an influence for growth among our sisters and brothers.  If the light of Christ shines through us then he will indeed shine in our world, in church, family and community.

+ Denis J. Hart,


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