Authority: Homily for Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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Readings for Today

Authority.  Today, we celebrate the feast of the chair of St. Peter. And what this means for us, is that today’s feast gives us an invitation to think about the structure of our Church. The way in which our Church is organized and put together so that we can have some certainty about what it means to believe.

Because important organizations in our lives have structure, they have rules. When we look at the United States for example, we have a Constitution that guides us and helps us to understand what it is we can and cannot do. Games have certain rules that are necessary for the game to be fair. And the Church is no different. The church too, has rules, that help it to guide people in the proper way to live in fidelity to the Lord Jesus.

Such as what we celebrate today. When Peter is asked for his statement of faith about the Lord Jesus, the foundation of the church is set in motion by Jesus himself. Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the chosen one by God to save the world, is the beginning of the foundation of Peter’s leadership in Christ. And because of this steadfast statement of faith in Jesus the Messiah, Peter is given special authority to guide the Church. Peter is given the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

This structure helps us to have certitude about what the Lord Jesus teaches and how it is that we are supposed to live these teachings in our lives. With deep faith in God let us pray for the Pope and for the bishops, that they might be faithful in their roles of leadership. And let us pray for each one of us, that guided by the Holy Spirit and the teachings of the Church and the Lord Jesus himself we might become faithful followers of Jesus.

Homily for Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Readings for Today

Once again the focus, as it is in much of the Letter to the Hebrews, is the Son of God. What is emphasized is the great gift God gives to us by becoming one like us. We are more limited than angels, yet it is as a human being the Jesus comes to the earth. Some have suggested this was the reason Lucifer turned from God, namely that God allowed his Son to be “lower than the angels.”

This gift becomes even more magnificent when we consider that all is subject to the Son. Indeed, the gospel reminds us that Jesus spoke with authority. His words were heard because of this authority. We have such experiences even today. We hear better those who speak with a certain authority. And it is clear there is no authority greater than the Son.

If Jesus speaks with authority, indeed if Jesus speaks at all, it is a sign that we are called to listen. How powerful is God’s love when He desires to speak with us. While certainly God speaks to us in the bible, God also chooses to speak to each of us, seeking to find ways in which we will come to be most likely to hear. I would argue the authority with which God speaks is the authority of unconditional love. God loves us. God cannot sin. God cannot cease to love us, for we have been in the mind of God since before our creation. God cannot create someone in time, since God is above all time.

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Homily for Saturday, December 20, 2014

Readings for Today

There is a power if one holds the key. There is of course, the obvious entry we can gain to a house, or a car, or a post office box. There is the ultimate symbolic gift a city gives — the key to the city. A key takes us places.

There is also the understanding that when something is key, it is critical, important, essential. In fact, that thing that is key is the very thing that is necessary, essential, the most important element to success. So what is the key of David? In short, if one has the key, there is the most important thing necessary. As a result, a key becomes a symbol of authority.

It is what we see when we encounter keys. There is the reference in Isaiah. There, in Isaiah 22:22, we see the promise of God will include a key when referring to the Messiah. In Revelation, the promise is repeated. And it is the keys to the kingdom of heaven that are given to Peter after his confession that Jesus is the Christ.

And so when we think of the key of David, we should think of the ultimate authority that belongs to God. Jesus has authority, and whenever we cooperate with the grace of God, we can share in that authority. This phrase also serves to remind us of something really important. We cannot act apart from the Church. It is not about just “Jesus and me”, but rather requires us to be attentive to the structures that Jesus gave us.

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