August 30, 2014
Matthew 16: 21-27
Today’s Gospel passage follows immediately the passage we heard last Sunday.
In the full text, there is a transition phrase that is omitted here, which is “From that time on.”
A small detail, perhaps.
But we must not lose sight of the link that connects the two passages.
Peter and the other disciples professed their faith in Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (16:16). And it is their faith in a Messiah of their own definition.
Now, Jesus tells them God’s definition of the Messiah.
Don’t we often find ourselves like Peter, believe in and are ready to follow the Messiah who operates according to our agenda?
The invitation and challenge of discipleship is to follow the Messiah who operates according to God’s agenda.
August 23, 2014
Matthew 16: 13-20
Listening and Observing
A review of the most recent Sunday Gospel passages might give us some background in understanding today’s passage. For three weeks, we heard Jesus teaching the mysteries of God’s Kingdom through parables (15th, 16th, and 17th Sundays). The next three weeks, Jesus revealed the presence of God’s Kingdom and power through miracles and healing (18th, 19th, and 20th Sundays).
The disciples were present in the audience listening to the parables. They were also present or even took part in the miracles (feeding the people).
Now, Jesus asks them, “Who do you say that I am?”
Jesus is among us. He continues to reveal God’s Kingdom to us through his teachings and his actions.
And the same question continues to be presented to each one of us today.
I can answer that question only if I listen to the voice of Jesus and observing his actions in the events of my life. If either part is missing, I might not get the full picture of who he is.
August 17, 2014
“Great is Your Faith”
Last week (19th Sunday), Jesus walked on the water and calmed the storm. But at first, the disciples were “terrified” and “cried out in fear.” They quickly forgot that it was Jesus who “made them get into the boat” and cross the sea. Peter doubted even when he asked and Jesus told him to come, walking on the water.
The disciples could recognize Jesus as “the Son of God” only after they had seen his power.
Today, a gentile, the Canaanite woman, recognizes and professes Jesus as “Lord” and “Son of David.”
Unlike the disciples, she has faith in Jesus and professes it even before Jesus heals her daughter. She does not need or demand the Son of David to respond to her request as a condition of her faith. Acknowledging him as Lord, and knowing who she is, she could beg him, “Have pity on me.” Then again, “Lord, help me,” after having done him homage.
Thus, Jesus commends, “O woman, great is your faith!”
August 16, 2014
August 9, 2014
Matthew 14: 22-33
It’s Painful, but ….
Hardships, challenges, and even sufferings are all parts of our human reality.
We know that. We all have experienced hardships, challenges, and sufferings.
But it is not easy to know or to explain why.
The disciples in today’s Gospel actually run into the storm as a result of doing what Jesus “makes” them do. Other translations even suggest stronger verbs such as “to force”  or “to compel” .
In the case of Peter walking on water, becomes frightened and about to sink, though Peter asks for it, it is Jesus who allows Peter to get into that situation.
Both events are the opportunities for the disciples to recognize the power of Jesus and to acknowledge, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”
How do I take the difficulties and sufferings that God allows to happen in my life?
 Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., The Gospel of Matthew. Sacra Pagina Series. Collegeville, MN., Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 223.
 Carla Works, “Commentary on Matthew 14: 22-33,” http://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2144