August 5, 2021
by Ann Mausbach
Creighton University's Education Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 410

Numbers 20:1-13
Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
Matthew 16:13-23
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Judging Others? Or Ourselves?

As I read today’s gospel, metaphors swam in my head -- “solid as a rock,” “like a rock,” “rock solid,” “rock steady.” It makes sense that Jesus would use this language.  A rock is something that affords a sure support, it is reliable, strong, unlikely to break. Jesus knew the Church that was being built on earth would have to have this durable and robust foundation. 

And yet while this image is being conjured up, in almost the same breath, we are reminded of Peter’s limitations as he is reproached for his reaction to the foretelling of Jesus' suffering. Jesus gives Peter the mission of being the rock upon which to build the Church, but profoundly understands our limitations in understanding the mysteries of our faith. While the foundation for the Church is strong, there are many frailties in our humanness. The atrocities committed in Catholic schools in Canada against indigenous youth is one such example of our poverty of spirit. 

Today’s Gospel is reminding us of how deceptive it can be to get caught up in putting man over God. It is cautioning us that even those with deep faith can get it wrong sometimes. Strengthening the Church requires us to stand up and speak out when this happens. In doing this we reinforce the backbone commandment of the Church -- to love one another. Today, let’s pray that we love our Church enough to act when its foundation gets marred by human foolishness. Let’s stand up as Jesus did to the scribes and chief priests and be courageous enough in our faith to be inclusive and loving. This is the cornerstone of the Church. Let’s do everything we can to keep this rock solid. 

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