First reading: Is. 22:15,19–23
Thus says the LORD to Shebna, master of the palace: “I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station. On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim’s shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open. I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family.”
Second reading: Rom. 11:33–36
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? Or who has given the Lord anything that he may be repaid? For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Gospel: Mt. 16:13–20
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
In other words
by Fr. Herbert “Bubi” Scholz, SVD (Steyl, Holland)
When praying to God, we often bring to him our personal needs or those of our family. But the model prayer Jesus gave us, the Our Father, does not start with asking “Give US OUR daily bread” but with “Holy be YOUR NAME (God’s name), YOUR Kingdom come.” God himself and his honor come first.
In today’s Second Reading (Rom 11), Paul, perhaps the most outstanding disciple of Jesus, writes to the Christians in Rome and praises God, particularly his wisdom: “To him be glory forever.”
Paul wrote, “To him be glory forever,” not in a moment of glory, but after a long, painful reflection about how God “manages” history and the life of people, and also our life. He tried to understand why only so few Jews believed in Jesus, although he was their kababayan (fellow countryman). Paul found it hard to understand. In the end, he admitted: “God’s ways are unsearchable.” But one conviction consoled him. In his wisdom and providence, God leads all things to a good end. So Paul said: “From him and through him and for him are all things… To him be glory forever.”
Like Paul, we, too, are often confused because of what happens in our lives or in the world. We cannot understand. One thing, however, is sure, as it was for Paul. God “holds the whole world in his hand.” His wisdom and providence guide even the most confusing situations. Like Paul, we entrust ourselves to God, and whatever happens, say: “To him be glory forever.”
We can compare our life to a carpet. The backside consists of jumbled threads without a system or pattern. Sometimes our life is like that: confused, making no sense, hopeless. But on the front side of the carpet is a beautiful landscape or people in palaces. That’s the side that God weaves in his wisdom and providence. That is where he leads our life. Some day we, too, shall see this. For “from him and through him and for him are all things… To him be glory forever.”
Therefore, even in the midst of whatever may happen, we trust God. We entrust our life wholly to his wisdom and providence. Thus our burdens become lighter. We begin to see “light at the end of the tunnel.” Even in dark moments, we can say with Paul: “To God be glory forever.” The Taize movement has expressed this conviction in a song with the lyrics: “O Christ Jesus, my hope, my gladness. You’re my strength; you’re my light, In you, O Lord, my future’s bright. In you I trust and feel no fright.”