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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Aug. 21, 2011

By Jeff Hensley
Catholic News Service

August 21, Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle A Readings:

1) Isaiah 22:19-23

Psalm 138:1-3, 6, 8

2) Romans 11:33-36

Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20

In a world in which more and more mainline Protestant churches, and even some evangelical churches, have departed from the traditional interpretations of the Scriptures, many of us find ourselves more and more Catholic.

We take comfort in the Gospel reading from Matthew in which Peter responds to Jesus' question: "Who do you say that I am?" with, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Then Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

"And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven."

I came into the Catholic Church as an adult. Part of my conversion process found me taking instructions in the Catholic faith at the same time that I was entering into involvement with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. I came, gradually, to appreciate the breadth and depth of Catholic teaching in all forms of morality and in social doctrines.

As I became Catholic, this Magisterium, or teaching authority, passed down through the lines of authority established in this little dialogue between Jesus and Peter, became increasingly attractive.

The church, it seemed to me, addressed every issue and topic of importance to humanity and its future. It still appeals to me very much.

So it is disturbing to me when I see other Christian faiths departing from traditional Christian teachings passed on for 2,000 years, ecumenism fractured by a rebellion against rather plain teachings found in Scripture and echoed and expanded upon in the teachings of our Catholic Church.

Many people from other faiths have come into the church just as I did, embracing these truths, the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and the loving welcome of our church.

We have a great treasure inherent in this authority and the safeguarding of it. May we appreciate it more and be able to share that appreciation, in charity, with our separated brethren, so Jesus' prayer that all may be one might be fulfilled in our time.


Have you sought help to form your own conscience to be able to think with the mind of Christ and his church? What opportunities for formation or involvement in a lay renewal movement or ministry within your parish are available to you?


"And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18a.)


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