A special thank you this week to our friends Divine Mercy Crusade, Chicago in the congregation.
Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Where are my keys? Do you find yourself asking that question? Some of us always lose our keys. There’s even devices today to help you find your keys. I think the funny thing about keys, one of my first parishes that I was at, I think it was my second parish, there was a pastor who had a dog and he used to go down and visit the school kids at the school next door to the rectory. He would throw his keys down the hallway and his dog [Chenade 00:00:29] would run down the hallway and get the keys and bring it back. Everybody enjoyed that action of retrieving the keys. We know that keys are important. Keys unlock and they also lock.
We think of it even in a hotel. Many times if you don’t know where you’re staying or the place where you’re at, you go talk to the concierge. They have the key, they have access. They have the authority. Key is an important symbol, of course today in our readings we see this associated in the Old Testament reading with Shebna and with Eliakim, and we see this with St. Peter in our own church today, our pope. Let’s look at the first reading from the prophet Isaiah. Shebna, like a Prime Minister, the Lord speaks to him in harsh words. “I will thrust you from your throne and pull you down. I will summon my servant Eliakim and clothe him with a robe and a sash, and give him the key of the house of David.” So authority is taken from one and given to another.
“He shall be like a father to his inhabitants of Israel, to Jerusalem, to the house of Judah. His quality of rule will be of special care for them like his own children.” While Shebna might not be the best example of a steward of the Davidic kingdom, Simon though in today’s gospel, Simon the fisherman has shown himself worthy, trustworthy, a trustworthy steward of the kingdom of God, which Jesus has sovereignty. So Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do people say that the son of man is? John the Baptist, Elijah, still others Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. But who do you say that I am?” Of course the correct answer comes from Simon, son of Jonah. In which Jesus responds, “Simon son of Judah.” He responds to him. He calls him by a new name, Peter the rock, and I will build my church.
He is given the keys to the kingdom of Heaven, an authority with great responsibility to close, to bind, to loosen, to build, and to raise up. The Petrine office of course is handed down today to our pope. He’s given this authority to lead the people. We look to him because he shows us who Jesus is. We look to him as he tells us that Jesus must be our authority, our center of our life, the one who can unlock from us great faith, and to see him in a new way through the perspective of caring for each other with charity and love, responding to the poor. God helps us in this day and age with all of our struggles and our fears. He unlocks those fears so that we can always announce who He is and place our trust in Him.