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Homily For Ordinary 21 - Year A
Friar Sydney Mascarenhas. O.F.M., Ph.D

     The following Homily is provided by Friar Sidney as a way
     of enriching the ministry of the Word as presented through
     this web site.  Friar Sidney, who has spent much of his
     ministry in India, is currently a Professor of Philosophy
     in Rome.  He can be reached at  The texts
     used by Friar Sydney come from the Roman Lectionary - which in
     most points agrees with the Revised Common Lectionary.

Isaiah 22:19-23; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20.

In a sense each person is a seat of authority. Let us meditate
today on the sense of authority that is invested in each of us.

In law circles, authority is most often seen as a legal attribute
of a person.  It is connected with power.  It is the power to
legislate, execute or judge an action.

In organizations, it is linked with the power to make decisions.
In business circles, it is the power to undertake transactions.
In our democratic societies, all authority comes from the people. 
It is exercised for and by the people. 

Today's readings remind us that all authority comes from God.  Is
this not an antiquated understanding of authority?  Is this not a
return to primitive times when people believed that the king was
God's representative, or even, that the king descended from God?

I do not think that the readings of today are so naive.

In fact, these readings are even more profound than whatever we
have ever experienced as authority.

It is Peter who exercised authority when he said: You are the
Christ, the Son of the Living God.  Matthew follows this
confession of Peter with an explanation of a change in Peter's
name as well as Jesus' granting Peter the power to bind and loose
in heaven and on earth.  Matthew links Peter's authority with the
building of Jesus' Church.

We see here two profound senses about all authority.

First, authority should reveal that we are anointed ones, we are
all children of a Living and Triune God.

Second, authority should bind and loose.

In other words, authority should reveal to us that we are co-
redeemers with Christ, the Son of God, of those people entrusted
to our stewardship.  Authority should reveal to us that we have
all one Father in heaven.  Authority should awaken us to the one
Spirit of God and His action.

Further, authority should be excercized in such a way that it
forestalls evil and promotes the creative, redemptive and
sanctifying role of the individual and of the community.

The big problem with us humans, however, is that we see authority
as an honour and a power.  The big problem is that we often see
authority and a source of benefits for ourselves. 

The big question is whether we merely see authority as a sort of
power to lord it over others or do we really see it as being
empowered to bring out the divine vocation of each of us?  Do we
really see authority as an exercise of service for the Kingdom of
God?  Do we see authority as a means to foster our creative,
redemptive and sanctifying role in the way our Trinitarian God
is, namely, Creator and Father, Redeemer and Son, Sanctifier and
Holy Spirit? 


copyright - Friar Sydney Mascarenhas and  Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 1999 - 2005
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.

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