21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 24, 2014 – Year A
Readings: Is 22:19-23; Psalm 138; Rom 11:33-36; Mt 16:13-20
by Rev. Mr. Eddie Craig, Permanent Deacon
Last week at the end of Mass, I had the honor of giving you the good news that Father Sal has been released from the Diocese of Sorsogon in the Philippines and is now a priest of our own diocese. In the process, perhaps I even taught you a new word… “incardination.”
This week, our second reading may also have taught you new word. “How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!” Inscrutable? I must confess that I had to look that one up. For me, “inscrutable” was one of those words that you believe that you know until you stop and think about it for a minute. I’ll bet I’m not the only one.
Inscrutable means: impossible to understand or interpret.
So perhaps the words of St. Paul are easier to understand this way: “It is impossible to understand God’s judgments and his ways. For no one has ever known his mind or been his counselor.”
Isn’t this true? God is completely different from us. He exists outside of our world and outside of our time. The 6th century philosopher Boethius explained it like this: “God exists in the eternal now.” Think about that for a while. We can never hope to understand why God does what he does or why he doesn’t do what we would like. He is inscrutable.
Because of this, it’s easy to focus on the difficult questions. Why do tornados, hurricanes and wild fires cause so much death and destruction? Why do good people suffer and die? Where is God when all of this is happening? Why doesn’t he do something? We don’t know and we can never fully understand. He’s up there and we’re down here. That’s all there is to it. Right?
Well, not really. St. Peter explains it to us in today’s Gospel. When Jesus poses the question, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter, struck by divine inspiration, answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Through Jesus, God became man. He is the incarnate Son of God. He is the Word of God made flesh. He is Emmanuel, “God with us.” He is fully divine yet at the same time fully human. Therefore, through Jesus Christ, God is one of us. If we keep that in mind, we realize that God, although inscrutable, is loving and approachable.
We are called to have a personal relationship with Jesus but how does that work? What does it mean? It’s a difficult thing to explain, but if you want to understand, think of your relationship with your best friend. I’m not talking about someone you hang out with or a golf buddy. I’m talking about the person you call when you are so happy you think you will explode and when you are so sad that you can’t walk out the door. I’m talking about the person who will answer the phone or respond to your text at 3:00 AM; the person that is always there for you. That is the kind of relationship that Jesus wants to have with you. He is our Lord, but wants to be our friend also. We have to let him into our hearts to comfort, sustain and strengthen us during the bad times in our lives.
I can’t tell you how to form that relationship with our Lord and Savior. I can’t open the door for you and I can’t hand you a magic red pill, because each one of us has a unique relationship waiting to be nurtured. Therefore, the way each one of us approaches our Lord is different and personal. I can, however, offer some suggestions.
Learn about him. Read the Bible daily if you can. The readings of the day are a great place to start, but don’t stop there. Read the footnotes and the cross-references. You will be amazed where this will take you. Faith formation will be starting soon and our parish offers something for everyone.
Talk with him often. Set aside some time for prayer every day. Share your problems with him but also tell him about the good things in your life. Pray while you are driving. Turn off the radio sometime and talk with Jesus. Don’t be surprised if you hear his voice.
Be with him when ever you can. Receive the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation, frequently. Visit with him at Adoration and Benediction. Spend time with your fellow Christians, because Jesus promised that whenever two or more are gathered in his name, that he would be there too.
By the Holy Spirit, Jesus was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. And he is waiting for each one of us. He wants to walk with us during the good times and the bad times of this life and He wants us to live with him forever in the next.