21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Published on 17 Aug 2020
Christ's Charge to Peter by Raphael. Christ gives the keys to the Apostle Peter.

‘The Lord is high yet he looks on the lowly’

O God, who cause the minds of the faithful

to unite in a single purpose,

grant your people to love what you command

and to desire what you promise,

that, amid the uncertainties of this world,

our hearts may be fixed on that place

where true gladness is found.

Today’s readings give thanks to God who, though from on high, looks to the lowly.

The Gospel reveals a God whose choice of the very human Peter shows that the wisdom of God is indeed unfathomable. By reflecting on the way God builds on the faith of this ordinary man, whose name would be similar to ‘Simon Johnson’ in English (‘bar Jonah’), our own faith can be deepened allowing us to proclaim, along with Peter, ‘You are the Christ’!

The prophet Isaiah (First Reading) appears to foretell this choosing of Peter. The Lord will entrust a servant with authority, and this servant will become as a father to the nation and as a throne of glory for the kingdom.

The Psalm continues this theme of choice: through the Lord’s faithful love for us, we are indeed chosen and our strength increased.

St Paul (Second Reading) speaks of love and wisdom, the motives behind God’s choice, the depths of which are impossible to comprehend. And our response to that? Simply to be grateful for that all is freely given and to trust God’s choice of us.

Let’s do that this week, both in our prayer and in our joyful response.

I call on my servant.    First Reading

I thank you for your faithfulness and love, which excel all we ever knew of you.    Psalm

How rich are the depths of God – how deep his wisdom and knowledge.     Second Reading

But you, who do you say I am?    Gospel

This week’s texts if you want to explore further:

Isaiah 22: 19–23; Ps. 137 (138); Romans 11: 33–36; Matthew 16: 13–20