Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time 29th August: Reflection II

Matthew 16, 13-20.

Jesus said to his disciples, “But who do YOU say that I am?” And Simon said, “You are the Messiah , the Son of the living God”. The faith of Simon Peter in Jesus as the Son of God was revealed to him by God the Father.

But who do you say that I am? Matthew 16:15.

Our faith in Jesus as Son of God has been given to each of us as a gift when we were baptized in the name of the Blessed Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and that was only the beginning of our life of knowing Jesus, who is the image of the unseen God. Col.1,15. To know Jesus is eternal life, and knowing in biblical language is to be in relationship. At the heart of our faith is a relationship with the Risen Christ with the person Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, and that influences and touches every other relationship and every aspect of our lives. Jesus made it possible to see God. When we look at Jesus we see the face of God. Jesus came to reveal the Father and to take us into his own divine relationship with God. No one has ever seen God, it is only the Son, who is nearest to the Father´s heart, who has made Him known. Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. In every page of the Gospels, Jesus shows us the way.

A catechist was giving a talk to young children and telling about God who is a Father. A young boy suddenly jumped up and ran out of the room and he wouldn´t come back. He did not have a good father so if God was a father he didn´t want to know about him. What did Jesus say about his Father and what was Jesus´ relationship with God His Father?

First of all, God was his Father. He always called him Abba which is the Aramaic for ‘Beloved Father’. On a bus in the Holy Land, a Dominican priest heard a little four-year-old girl tugging on her father´s sleeve and saying to him in Hebrew, “Abba! Abba! Abba! ” Abba is a word of respectful familiarity used by a person of any age, not just by a little child. And once in an airport a priest saw a rugged, bearded Jewish man welcoming his elderly father who had just arrived on a plane, embracing him, and tenderly respectfully saying to him, “Abba! Abba!”Jesus´ whole life was of loving dedication to his Abba, a life of obedience even to death on a cross, to do the Father´s will for the salvation of the world. “Beloved Father” is probably the best translation of the Aramaic word “ABBA” ´The transcendent, God, Lord of heaven and earth who infinitely surpasses everything he has created, is our beloved Father.

Jesus assures us that we are also sons and daughters of the Father.”If anyone loves me they will keep my word and my Father will love them and we will come to them and make our home with them”. Jesus pointed to his disciples and said ´Here are my Mother and my brothers. Whoever does what my Father in Heaven wants them to do is my brother, my sister and my mother´. And at Jesus´ appearance to Mary of Magdala after His resurrection, He said to her, ´Tell the brothers I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.1 Jn, 3,1.  Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God´s children; and that is what we are. And so, if we can call God our Father, it is because, as St. Thomas says, we recognise Him as our Creator, but not any kind of a creator or artisan like Geppetto in the story of Pinocchio, but a creator who made us equal and like himself. On the other hand we can treat God as our Father because we are treated as his children, and although adopted children, we are equally heirs with His true and only Son. We have received the Spirit which permits us to say “Beloved Father” and which puts us in a profound relationship with the one that we call ‘Father’.

Many of our relationships would improve if we sometimes paused to remind ourselves that the one we are with now is also a person with his or her thoughts and fears. Jesus treated everyone he met as an individual. This was because he saw everyone as a person and loved them as himself. In fact he identified himself with all other human beings. The way of life modelled by Jesus is the best way to live one´s life. What a rich life you and I would be living if we faithfully followed Jesus. We would be the most loving, most inclusive, compassionate, caring, courageous human beings.

This is what
the Lord
Asks of you;
only this,
To act justly,
To love tenderly,
And to walk
humbly with
Your God.
Micah 6:8

Sr. Aedris Coates OP


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