The Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 27, 2017
Fr. José Maria Alvim Cortes, F.S.C.B.

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In today’s Gospel, Peter confesses the divinity of Christ. When Jesus asks: “Who do you say that I am?,” Peter answers: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt 16:15–16). Peter’s confession is a profession of faith. Faith is the answer to Jesus’ question. Faith is to recognize the divinity of Jesus. What does it mean to have faith?

In the second reading, Saint Paul affirms: “For from him and through him and for him are all things” (Rom 11:36). With this statement, he helps us understand what it means to believe.

First, he says: “From him.” Faith is to recognize that everything comes from Christ. He is the source of everything that exists. “Christ is all in all” (Col 3:11). Faith is to recognize Christ as the origin of everything: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col 1:17).

Secondly, Saint Paul says: “Through him.” Christ “sustains all things” (Heb 1:3). Christ is the one “through whom he [the Father] created the universe” (Heb 1:2). When we say “through him,” it means that Christ is not only the origin but he is also the present. He fills the here and now where we live with his presence. In addition to being the source, Jesus is also the river.

Thirdly, the Apostle says: “for him.” It means that Christ is the destiny of everything that exists. We said that Jesus is the source and the river. Now we can say that he is the ocean, the goal of our lives, our final destiny. To live a Christian life means to live everything for him, to return every gift received to him. Saint Bernard, whose memorial we celebrated this week, says: “Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it.”

For Peter, faith started when he encountered Christ. Peter’s life had been deeply transformed since the day that Andrew, his brother, brought him to Jesus. Peter started to look at everything in a different way after he met Christ.

Faith is a new way of looking at ourselves. It is a different way of seeing people and things. It has to do with a new perception of reality. Faith is the light that allows us to see everything with different eyes. Faith means to see the infinite in the commonplace. Faith is to recognize Christ in everything. It is to look at ourselves, at the people we love, at the things we have and at the reality that surrounds us in a new light.

If we understand that all things are from Christ and through Christ and for Christ, then the glory of the Lord will shine on us. Our lives will be filled with meaning. The infinite beauty, truth and goodness of God will pervade our lives in ways that we cannot imagine.

We live in a time of a profound crisis of faith. Faith is not understood in all its richness. Faith brings a promise to our lives. Many times, faith is reduced to mere feelings or thoughts. However, faith is much more, infinitely more! Faith is a new world that we are invited to enter. In our faith are infinite treasures of glory, waiting to be discovered.

Let us answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say that I am?” as Peter did. Let us ask for the gift that does not come from the flesh and blood. May the Holy Spirit help us understand that all things are from Christ and through Christ and for Christ.  Amen.

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