Now the Old is New Again

From Deacon David, here is the first of four footnotes building upon the homilies offered by our teens this past Sunday. If you missed the homilies, listen here –> 


Now the Old is New Again: Declaration, Gift, Name, and Calling

During the mass at Utah Park last Sunday, a Great Blue Heron landed in the shallows on the south shore of the lake. I just happened to be looking in the right direction at the right moment to see the wondrous sight. The surprise of that great Heron has been kicking around my mind along with thoughts about the memorable homily.


Two things Jackie and Kaitlin said in their homily sparked my attention. Jackie reflected that in the encounter between Jesus and Peter, Jesus described how we grow in our relationship with God. Kaitlin reflected that in naming Simon “Peter”—the rock on which the Church would be built—Jesus commissioned the readers of his story to an identity that we now share with Peter: being the rocks on which the future is built.


Much has been on my mind since Sunday morning. It is exciting to see young women who have chosen what I’d call “the identity of creative power.” All of us are learning and growing, but our unfolding is perhaps most visibly and joyfully apparent in the life journey from birth into young adulthood. Brava!


Jackie and Kaitlin pointed to insights about how we learn and grow—how we discover our own truth and become our own greatness—that are hidden in plain sight in last Sunday’s Gospel. Jesus’s question was, “But who do you say that I am?” [my emphasis] Simon Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus responded, “Blessed are you, Simon…for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.”


This encounter between Jesus and Simon-who-will-become-Peter is pregnant with meaning to be uncovered. Simon makes a declaration of faith, Jesus acknowledges the gift of Simon’s belief, and Jesus gives Simon a new name and commission. The story continues this Sunday (3 September 2017) as Jesus begins to see the full extent of the life-learning and self-offering to which he has been called.


Over the next three weeks, I’ll unpack these themes in Matthew 16:13–27 and reflect on the life-learning and self-offering to which we are being called.

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