A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 16:13-23
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, "God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you." He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."
REFLECTION: "But who do you say that I am?"
During these times of mass shootings, people are asking the "Why?" Our secular answer is gun control, hate speeches, mental illness, politicians and name calling. The blame game has begun.
In the midst of the clergy scandal, sometimes we are left with the sinking feeling that the foundations are crumbling. What can we do?
"But who do you say that I am?" is the most important question that each one of us will ever have to answer. The answer should be the resounding answer of Peter--"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God". God is walking in our midst !!
If that is our answer as well, then, we must stop and ask--how did we get ourselves in this mess?
In a society that allows the killing of the unborn, the Hippa rights of the mentally ill to go unquestioned, the seduction of our children into immorality in social media, we have only ourselves to blame. We don't need to go any further to see where we went wrong. We have banned God in our schools, social and sporting events, allowed drag queens to have story time with our innocent children. We have invited the devil in our lives and he has been given full reign. At first whiff, it appears he is winning...
James 5:16--"The prayers of a righteous person has great power." Today we celebrate the feast day of St Dominic. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and introduced him to the rosary. We are the Church Militant--it is time for our PAPA family to have more powerful dialogue with Jesus--time to pray harder for our Church, our clergy--time to invite God back to our nation. Time to act!!
Let us not worry so much about the fear of going to hell but we should be motivated by the love of God and repentance and reparations of our sins and the sins of the clergy. Practice praying the rosary (PAPA Handbook, pp 12-13) daily if not several times a day asking Mother Mary to intercede for us and to bring us to her Son. Let our tears flow for the sins of our nation for there is power in prayer and repentance.
Mary offered every moment of her life to God. Can we do the same?