• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 25 August 2017 17:37

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time - 2017

Written by Fr Larry Nemer SVD

21st Sunday of the Year 2017

Fr Larry Nemer SVD 150In today’s gospel we are faced with two questions: who is Jesus and who is Peter?

One time when preaching in a parish I said to the people: if I told you that Jesus was coming to your house for lunch today, who would you expect to find when you opened the door? What would he look like? What kind of personality would he have? Do you think you would be comfortable with him? I asked people to let me know after Mass what their answers to my questions would be, but no one volunteered an answer.

When Jesus asked his disciples: who do you say that I am? It was a difficult question to answer. I have been reading lives of Jesus ever since I entered the seminary in 1946 – lives written by scripture scholars, by theologians, by mystics, by doctors of the Church and by ordinary lay people. And yet I am not sure that I can give an adequate answer to that question. I keep learning something new about Him. I can sympathise with one of our seminarians who is just starting his theological studies and who is being introduced to the many questions surrounding the person of Jesus when he says: I am not sure I want to know who Jesus is. It is so confusing.

And it is. Jesus was fully man; He was also fully God. No one else ever held two natures in his or her one person – a human nature and a divine nature. When the Sisters taught me about Jesus in school, they emphasised his divine nature. So I thought it was all play-acting when I was told that his parents had to teach him how to walk and talk, and that his father Joseph had to teach him how to be a good carpenter. Jesus said several times in the Gospel that there were things He didn’t know, and I thought that also was play-acting. As God He would have known everything.

After Vatican II the theologians and writers began to emphasise that He had a full human nature, and so it was understandable that He would have had to learn things, that He sometimes felt lonely and depressed and angry, and that He sometimes experienced an intimacy with His Father. It is so difficult to hold together the two natures in one person when Jesus never really explained how it worked out. And so our knowledge of Jesus remains a mystery. We can know so much about Him and yet we can understand so little of Him. This is probably true of our personal friends as well, but not to the same degree. But just as we keep trying to learn more and more about our friends, so too we try to learn more and more about Jesus.

And who is Peter? When Peter says to Jesus: You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus replies that this insight was given to him by God, and because he was open to receiving that insight and to believe in it, Jesus would make him the rock on which He would build His Church. It is surprising since according to the Gospel texts Peter made more “mistakes” about Jesus than any other apostle. He could not accept that Jesus would be put to death (Jesus even called him Satan); he was ready to walk on water, but then failed; he would try to use the sword to defend Jesus but then told to put it away; he said he was willing to die for Jesus, and yet he denied knowing him three times during the Passion. There is even the legend that later on when Nero was persecuting the Christians Peter was ready to flee Rome but on the way out of the city he met Jesus and he asked Him where He was going (Quo vadis?). When Jesus said to Rome to die again, Peter turned around and went back to Rome. He certainly does not sound like a man whom you could trust to always do the right thing. And yet Jesus chose Him because deep down he knew who Jesus was and because he was committed to Him. This is a good lesson for all of us. Jesus does not demand perfection from us, but He does want love and commitment.