The Peace Pulpit: We tend to want to put our relationship to God in a way that we feel we merit something. Not true; God first loved us.
The Peace Pulpit
The Peace Pulpit: What Jesus does through his death is show us how we can bring life to our world not by hating, but by returning love.
Our first lesson today from the prophet Ezekiel reminds us of the role of prophecy within the Jewish community, but also a role that continued on among Christians. Jesus was a prophet; John the Baptist was a prophet. The disciples were called to be prophets. Most of us probably do not think of ourselves as prophets. Even the role of the prophet that Ezekiel speaks about -- comparing the prophet to a watchman for Israel -- that has no relevance for us with our super-sophisticated radar systems, our U-2 planes that oversee the Earth at all the time.
You may remember over the past few weeks, two or three times, the Scripture readings have kind of led us into reflection about who Jesus really is -- that Jesus is son of man, son of Mary, fully human, like us in every way except sin. Totally human with all the emotions, all the need to develop and grow that every human being has. But also that Jesus is son of God raised up in power, the very maker of all the heavens and the earth. Jesus, son of Mary, son of God, profound mystery, and yet this is the very foundation of our whole faith life: Jesus, son of God and son of Mary.
Among the various Gospel readings that we have Sunday after Sunday, I think this particular lesson is one that every one of us probably feels we can easily be drawn into that situation, put ourselves there with the disciples as Jesus says, "Who do people say I am?" And I think it's easy to imagine how they must have kind of chatted with one another, "Well, what have you heard?
The Peace Pulpit: Isn't it true that in our world now, we need this human spirit of Jesus to learn how to be open, to welcome others into our midst?
The Peace Pulpit: If we take time to be quiet and try to be aware of what could be just a gentle breeze, we find God at our side.
Now in order to begin our reflection on today's Gospel lesson, it's important to remind ourselves once more where we are in this Gospel of Matthew that we read every Sunday this year. At the beginning of his public life in the Gospel, Jesus had proclaimed the good news: "The reign of God is at hand. Change your lives." The reign of God is at hand; that's what the good news is.
The Peace Pulpit: When we begin to discover that the reign of God is at hand, isn't it worth changing our lives, radically following the way of Jesus?
The Peace Pulpit: A question each one of us must face: "Who do you say I am?" Who is Jesus? Why should we listen to him?