Homily for the 21St Sunday of the Ordinary time, year A.
Theme: Who do you say that I am?
By: Fr Justin Nzekwe
Homily for Sunday August 23 2020
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus put a question to his disciples, “Who do the people say that the Son of man is? The disciples answered, “some say you are John the Baptist, others Elijah, others Jeremiah or some of the prophets.” But when Jesus asked the same question to his disciples, it is surprising that his disciples were not able to quickly answer this question after, although they have been his disciples for a longer time. It was only Peter who was able to boldly give a correct answer to the question, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. This answer does not just require intelligence alone. To Know Jesus, we need the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Knowing Jesus requires the totality of our lives, our attitudes, and even our relationships with our fellow human being. The priests and many people have preached a lot to us about whom Jesus is. We have also read from the bible and other spiritual books about whom Jesus is. But all these information have only helped us in discovering the Jesus of history. Who is Jesus personally to you? What is your unique father and child relationship with Jesus? These are the questions we are going to ask ourselves in order to evaluate our knowledge of the person of Jesus.
However, just as Jesus demanded to know whom the people say he is, we must also as Christians be courageous enough not only to make a personal assessment of ourselves, but to also know what others think about us. Saint Augustine of Hippo, said, “an unexamined life is not worth living.” Though, listening to people’s criticism can be a hindrance to our progress especially when it is coming from the enemies, but listening to sincere criticism helps us to have a good assessment of ourselves and to grow. Jesus’ question to his disciples improved his relationship with them. It enabled them to know Jesus better and to understand better his mission on earth. It is a moment of revelation on the leadership of the Church which Jesus founded to continue his mission on earth. Jesus changed the name of Simon his disciple to Peter, a name which means rock, because of Simon’s ability to identify the real person of Jesus. Jesus also gave to Peter the key to the kingdom of heaven so that everything he bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and everything you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. And this authority that Jesus gave to Peter became to foundation of the authority of the Church. Each time we are invited to say the Credo during mass, we are invited to affirm firmly our faith in Jesus which we have encountered though the Church. We are also invited at the end of the mass to go about bearing witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. May our encounter with Jesus today through this holy mass, enable us to have a better relationship with Jesus and to know him better. Amen.