Fr. Americo Santos

Homily: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

August 27, 2023

We might call this Sunday “Authority Sunday” because the principal theme of all three readings is that God is the Source of all authority on earth and in heaven. God shares His authority with some people elected to serve the Church for the material and spiritual welfare of His children. Today’s Gospel challenges us to proclaim Jesus as the Son of God and accept his authority and his decisions as St. Peter did at Caesarea Philippi.

The first reading, taken from Isaiah, tells us how God does not like unfaithful and selfish officials. He fired Shebna (the proud master of the royal palace) from his office and gave his power and responsibility to Eliakim. The robe, the sash, and the keys are the insignia of his new office given by God.

In the second reading, St. Paul praises God for the depth of His wisdom, knowledge, and correct judgments, affirming that He is the Source of all authority on earth and in Heaven. In the Gospel, Jesus asks to his disciples to give an opinion about his identity. Peter says the right answer: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Peter’s answer is a public profession of faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Anointed One. Today Jesus asks the same question to all of us. Let us reflect from our hearts, who is Jesus for all of us. It is important to be aware of who is the one we serve and worship when come to Church.

After Peter’s profession of faith, Jesus Christ gives him authority over the Church. Thus, Jesus establishes a “Magisterium” in his Church to serve the spiritual and physical needs of his Church members.

Jesus’ statement to Peter, “I will give you the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven,” means He gives Peter and his successors the power to bind and to loose in the Church, which means to make laws and exercise authority as well as the security that their decisions will be ratified in Heaven. Brothers and Sisters like Peter, we need to proclaim Jesus as The Son of the living God. This means proclaiming Him through our words, actions and exemplary lives. To proclaim Christ as the Son of God, we must read the Bible daily, pray personally and communally, attend Holy Mass every Sunday, and receive Holy Communion.

If we cooperate with God’s grace working in us, our personal experience of faith will lead us to speak and proclaim Christ naturally because of our relationship with Him. Also, our personal experience of faith will be expressed as a new and happy life, which is the life that any person on earth would like to have.

And finally, let us pray for Pope Francis as the successor of Saint Peter. He has the enormous responsibility of leading The Church of God in our confused present time. He needs to unify us as Universal Church and guide us towards Jesus Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit. So that he needs our support, but above all, our prayers to be a good shepherd for all of us.