Daily Reflection
August 22nd, 1999
Andy Alexander, S.J.
University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
The Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 22:10-23
Rom 11:33-36
Mt 16:13-20
He asked his disciples,  "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" ...
"But who do you say that I am?" ...
"I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven."

Who do you say I am?  As we are asked this question today, our responses are much more complicated than that of the disciples who were first asked it.  We have a lot to say.

Lord, I believe in you, in your love for me.  I have been baptized into you, into the pattern of your death and resurrection.  I live my life, turning to you in times of trouble and giving you thanks in times of joy.  I try to love as you love me, to forgive as I have been forgiven.

I realize, Lord, that your question asks me not only who my words say you are, but who my actions say you are.  There are times when my actions speak of my independence from you.  I do what I want.  I do what I need to do.  I do what gives me pleasure, what helps me avoid conflict, what makes me look good.  At times, I refuse to forgive, and at times I retaliate.

Lord, I know you have told me that the way I treat the "least" of my sisters and brothers is the way I treat you.  Lord, I have ignored you, hungry and thirsty.  I've avoided you, a stranger and in need of clothes.  I have had so little care about you, sick with all kinds of illnesses, or imprisoned for all kinds of terrible crimes.  I've paid more attention to the cries in my own heart, than to the cries of the poor and marginal around me and throughout the world.

I can say that you are the Lord of us all.  Yet, I resist really acting like that is who you are.  I can say that when any part of your Body on earth suffers, the whole Body suffers.   Yet, I don't really suffer with those who suffer - in my own family, among my friends, in my city, in the poorest parts of my country, in the most desperate parts of the world.

I'm not sure if I know if my choices witness who I say you are.  Would others say I witness to who I say you are?  What does my leadership say?  Do my lifestyle choices say who you are?  What I need, buy, eat, wear?   Do children around me know who I say you are?  Do I get involved in politics, support candidates, try to affect legislation and vote out of who I say you are?

Lord, today, let me give you praise for your love and mercy.   I thank you for the power of your question, to awaken the depths of my heart.  Give me the graces I need to trust you more completely.  Fill me with your peace, that I might be more courageous in loving more consistently and acting more justly.

I smile that you called Peter, the Rock, shortly after he sank in the sea.  That humbling experience must have grounded him in a profound sense of who you really are.  May we, your church today, be so rooted in who you are for us, and who you mission us to be, that we can hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven for your people, in your Spirit.

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