The 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Isaiah 22: 19-23, Romans 11:33-36, Matthew 16:13-20)
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom. 11:33). When the Word became flesh, he shrouded the riches of his glory and mercy in a vessel of clay (CF. 2 Cor. 4:7). Whenever we come face to face with the revelations of God’s infinite and super-abundant love for us, all that we can say is “THANKS.” Pondering the depths of God’s wisdom and knowledge leads us to offer ecstatic praise to him who made us and keeps us in existence. These moments of worship take us deeper and deeper into the mysteries of God’s infinite love and draw us closer to his heart.
God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
The poet proposes a very serious question for our postmodern, techno-centric age. Surrounded by the grandeur of God, why do so many people not recognize his glory and submit to his authority? In our sophistication, we have learned to take so much for granted. We have put up a noise barrier that filters out the gentle whisper of the Spirit. The Psalmist wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps. 19:1). And we can make Jacob’s words our own: “and I did not know it” (Gen. 28:16). Because of work and other concerns weighing upon us, we keep our heads down, and our sight low. Surrounded by a cloud of darkness and living in a culture of death, we abort our future, euthanize our past, and anesthetize our present. The Lord utters a word to those who are walking in the valley of darkness. “Lift up your heads, behold your redemption is drawing near” ( Lk. 21:28).
When the psalmist heard that inner voice, he wrote: “I lift up my eyes to the heights from where will come my help” (Ps. 121:1). My brothers and sisters, thanks to the depth of the riches of God’s mercy, we too can lift our eyes to the heights of Mount Calvary from where shall come our salvation. As we turn our gaze towards the Cross, let us focus our sight on Christ who is the Son of the living God. Georgia O’Keeffe once said: “To fully appreciate the good things in life — from the beauty of nature to the joy of friendship — we have to take time to notice them, by choosing to give them our full attention.” We need to stop what we are doing, at least for a moment, and respond to the voice we have heard. It has spoken to the deepest longings of our hearts and invites us to speak to the heart of our beloved Master.
“To fall in love with God is the greatest romance;
to seek Him the greatest adventure;
to find Him, the greatest human achievement.”
(St. Augustine of Hippo)
Jesus Christ is the anchor of our soul and the cornerstone of our life. He sets before each one of us an open door, which no man can shut. As we cross the threshold we bring both body and soul into the eternal glory prepared for us before the world began. Christ himself is the gift and the revelation of the glory of God that the Father sent into the world because of his great love for us. Unlike us, God breathes life into our future. He treasures our past and he holds our present in the palm of his hands. He knows every event that has ever happened and ever will happen and is happening in our lives. Being the Alpha and Omega, Christ is the beginning and the end of all that we are. All knowledge and all wisdom and all riches originate in him and are held together by him. Everything he created exists to make him known. “Oh, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of God!” May the revelation of the Son and his ways move you to stand in awe of him. May you acknowledge him as the beginning, the middle, and the end in all you think and feel and do so that, in all things, God may be glorified.
Standing with Peter, we receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and make his profession of faith our own. Gazing into the eyes of Christ, we see the reflection of the Father’s face. Christ is the image of the invisible God and the revelation of the Father’s beauty. As messiah-king, he comes into the world to accompany us as we continue our pilgrim way to the Father. The Incarnate Word brings us to the ultimate vision of supreme beauty in the kingdom of the Father. When Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” He was asking him to put his faith into words. Like Peter, we are invited to speak of our relationship with the One who makes the Father’s love for us tangible. With Peter, we are invited to acknowledge our belief in our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, and to bear witness to his love by the way we live in the world.
When we acknowledge Jesus as “the Son of the living God,” our Heavenly Father freely offers us grace to change our lives and to participate in the process of making all things new. As we manifest the person of Jesus to the world we enable others to acknowledge him as “the Son of the living God.” By entering into moments of silence to ponder the mysteries of the kingdom, we open wide the door of our hearts to the One who desires to make his dwelling within us. When we speak to others of the One who has captured our hearts, we show them the way that leads to the springs of life-giving water. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God” (Rom. 11:33). May the words the bishop speaks to the newly ordained deacon while giving him the Gospel Book, become a rule of life for us.
Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become.
Believe what you read,
teach what you believe,
and practice what you teach.