August 4th, 2022

My Sisters and Brothers. Today, let’s WELCOME Deacon Carlos Porras Jr. to the D5 family. He is doing todays Gospel Reflection in lieu of Dn. Paul Machuca.

Welcome Audio:

The 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: The Church celebrates today the Memorial of SAINT JOHN VIANNEY, patron of priests. Born during the days of the French Revolution, he was ordained a priest in 1815. Three years later he was made parish priest, at a remote French hamlet, where his reputation as a confessor and director of souls, made him known throughout the Christian world. He was a wonderworker, well known and loved by the crowds, but he retained a childlike simplicity, and he remains to this day the living image of the priest after the heart of Christ.

We all have a desire to be known. To be known by each other and by God. Professor and spiritual director, Ruth Takiko West, uses Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” as a model for our deepest spiritual questioning. “Who do you say that I am?” is a central question of Jesus in today’s Gospel, as he helps the disciples clarify their relationship to and with him.

However, this question is also directed to the heart of every Christian, or I should say, to every person, longing for a connection to God, to their deepest self, and to the world they live in. There is a fundamentally recurring interrelationship, between yearning for the presence of God, and learning what and who we are in his image, to others. 

In Jesus question to his disciples, “But who do you say that I am”, Jesus is emphasizing that regardless of what the crowd might be saying about him, it is imperative that they, the disciples, know who he is. It is also equally important that we know, who Jesus is for us. And this awareness can become the foundation upon which our spirituality is built. Our questions about who Jesus is to us, should also lead us to simultaneously ponder, who we are to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 

And because Jesus taught by modeling, we follow his example and ask God, “Who do you say that I am?” Because we are the imago Dei (Greek for image of God), I believe God would say that we are God’s Beloved, fearfully and wonderfully made.

As we attempt to live fully into this notion of “belovedness”, we must be self-reflective and self-aware, carefully uncovering and discovering our most authentic selves while staying connected to the Holy Spirit, utilizing the resources of prayer, meditation, and spiritual practices. This can be the basis of how we live out our spirituality.

ACTION FOR THE DAY: Take a look in the mirror and at each other and Creation, and ask ourselves, “Who do you say that I am?” How might we represent God in the world? How do we interact with each other and Creation? . . . We must also practice seeing the Holy in our neighbors—to share our stories about God’s goodness and grace, companionship and love in the hopes of becoming the community that God has intended.

My brothers and sisters; Who do people say that you are?

Audio Reflection:

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