Aug 23 2020 Reflection
Sunday 23 August 2020
First Reading: IS 22:19-23
Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.
PS 138:1-2, 2-3, 6, 8
Second Reading: ROM 11:33-36
Gospel Reading: MT 16:13-20
Today’s Note: Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
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.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (Isaiah 22:21)
Master of the palace: it was a sought-after title, and Shebna knew it. That title gave him far-reaching authority over the king’s household and possessions. But he abused that power by taking advantage of perks like the royal chariots and even making a beautiful carved tomb for himself (Isaiah 22:16, 18). That’s why God unseated Shebna and established Eliakim in his place. He wanted someone who would exercise that authority with fatherly concern and compassion, not self-promotion, domination, or greed. In other words, the master of the palace should imitate the way God uses his authority: to serve his people.
These words point to something important about God’s desires for his kingdom. He wants a kingdom where leaders don’t lord their authority over the people in their care. He wants them to show compassion and concern for their people (Matthew 20:25-26).
Jesus gave that type of authority to Peter. Yes, Peter received the “keys to the kingdom” and the power to bind and to loose (Matthew 16:19). But first and foremost, he was to be the rock, the solid foundation upon which the Church would be built. He would not be raised up above all his brothers and sisters; he would be beneath them to support them.
That’s the type of leadership God wants parents or anyone in authority to exercise. Godly leaders don’t put themselves first. They are not greedy for honor or power. His kingdom is a place where, instead of setting themselves up against one another, his people serve one another with love, respect, and honor.
Shebna’s story is a lesson to us, especially those times when we are tempted to take advantage of our position. Peter is a role model too when we are tempted to think leadership equates to tyranny. Let’s take their examples and learn how to be good leaders in our families, our workplaces, and our Church.
“Lord, help me to place serving above being served today.”