Sunday, August 27, 2017

Homily for Today

How mysterious are the ways of the Lord! From today's readings, we perceive the depth of the riches, wisdom and knowledge of God. We come to the realization that the judgments of God that were unsearchable and mysterious at the time of their occurrence were made known in time as they unravelled themselves.

Not knowing the mind of the Lord, no one can tell today how His progressive Divine Plan is unravelling itself. But looking back in history, at the unravelled prophetic words that are found in the Old and New Testaments, we can now perceive the greatness and glory of the Lord God.

In the days of Isaiah, Shebna was one of the court officials. Contrary to the Divine Will of God that was expressed through the great prophet Isaiah, Shebna tried to persuade Hezekiah to revolt against Assyria by sending for Egyptian support.

Consequently, God commanded Isaiah to relate a message to him. Through Isaiah, God told Shebna that he would be removed from his office. In his place, God's servant, Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, would take his place. All authority would be placed under him and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.

In the message to Shebna, God spoke of the key to the house of David. The words spoken by God, prophetic in nature, are very similar to the words that we heard Jesus speak to Peter in the reading of today's Gospel. What Eliakim shall open, no one shall shut; what he shall shut, no one shall open. The Lord will fasten him like a peg in a secure place, and he will become a throne of honour to his ancestral house.

In this message, the key that is worn over the shoulder, represents the authority of its keeper to grant or deny admittance to the royal presence.

In those days, around 700 B.C., no one perceived the depthness of the mysteries of the Lord, that the Messiah would repeat those words seven centuries later. Nor was anyone in a position to associate the keys with the authority of Peter as the first apostolic leader of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Even today, the authority of the keys of the kingdom of Heaven still have a major impact in the Catholic Church. Whatever the Pope binds on earth in the name of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, it is bound in Heaven. And whatever is loosed on earth is made loose in Heaven.

Looking back in time, now we can perceive the prophetic mysteries of the Lord that were associated with this passage in the Book of Isaiah.

When we review today's Gospel, once more, we see the mysteries of God at work. Many of the people did not know who Jesus was. Some thought that He was John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or even a prophet. To ensure the fulfillment of the prophecies that were found in the Scriptures, the Heavenly Father hid the identity of Jesus as the Messiah from the eyes of many of the people until such time as Jesus had gloriously resurrected.

After the Resurrection, the Divine Plan unravelled itself so all who had a sincere heart could see that God had fulfilled His numerous promises of sending the Messiah to save His beloved people. 

Who would have believed in the days of Jesus that Peter, a simple fisherman, would become the leader of the greatest Church in the world, the Holy Catholic Church? Who would have believed that Jesus would pick Peter, knowing in advance that Peter would deny knowing Him on three different occasions?

In those days, this all seemed very mysterious. But looking back today, we see that God can achieve anything that He wants. We can see how He calls imperfect men as instruments of His Divine work. We can see how He calls the uneducated to display the glorious power of His Spirit. We can see the love and mercy of God at work. Now, we can testify that indeed, the Spirit of God was at work. Why? Because the mysteries have unravelled themselves like a blooming flower.

When Jesus ordered His disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah, surely, the disciples must have thought, "That is a strange command." In their minds, they must have thought, "If Jesus is the Messiah, what does He have to fear?" Little did they perceive at the time the mysterious ways of the Lord, that the Kingdom of God was not a physical Kingdom.

When Peter was given the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, what could possibly have gone through His mind? Did he expect the Kingdom of Heaven to descend on earth as many still do today? Did he see himself as ruling over the coming Kingdom? What about Jesus, where would He be? If Jesus gave the keys to Peter, surely, that must have meant that Jesus would not be around. At the time, the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven must have been intriguing to Peter.

It is only after the death and glorious Resurrection of Jesus that Peter understood his apostolic role in the Holy Catholic Church. After the Resurrection, Peter was able to perceive that he had been called to lead the Body of Christ alongside the other apostles. The keys were his authority as the first of hundreds of Popes who would follow in his apostolic succession.

My brothers and sisters, there is something to learn from today's message. Sometimes in life, we do not understand why things happen the way they do. But surely, God who is everywhere, knows all, sees all and is in control of all situations. Every event, although mysterious at the time of its occurence, serves a spiritual purpose for our individual spiritual growth and for the benefit of the Church as a whole.

Today, we may not understand why certain things are happening in our lives. The events may appear mysterious. But if we look 5 or 10 in our past, we may now perceive what appeared to be a mystery at that time. We may now be able to see how we have spiritually gained from our life experiences. Although the Heavenly Father was mysterious in His ways at the time, His Divine Will is now made known to us.

This week, let us take the time to reflect on our past. Let us take the time to reflect on the mysterious ways of the Lord that have led us to where we are today. Let us take the time to perceive what our Heavenly Father has done for us so we may grow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit. And when our eyes are opened to the mysteries of the Lord, let us take a moment to thank Him for all that He has done for us, glorifying Him in His Most Holy Name.

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