Isaiah 22:19-23, Psalm 138, Romans 11:33-36 & Matthew 16:13-20

In today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans he tells us that God’s wealth, wisdom, knowledge and power are virtually immeasurable.  God shares all of that by way of creation and his continuation of creation and as well by his blessings. How many times have you wondered why God share all those blessings with us but the answer is always because he loves us and all he asks is that we love him in return.  Paul as well tells us that we may not understand God’s decisions and thoughts but all God asks is that we trust him.

How many times have you wondered why God allows some things to happen?  Things such as happenings in our life, or our weather such hurricanes like Hurricane Harvey, or tsunamis, or tornadoes.  It could be people who come into or go out of our lives.  It could be leadership like who is chosen to lead the Catholic Church or who is chosen to lead our country.  We might say that we are questioning the wisdom of God.  It is then that we need to trust God more than ever.
God created and continues to create our physical world and provides us with a limited ability to understand it, compensate for those happenings and the ability to capitalize on the opportunities they present.  Both our understanding of those happenings and the ability to capitalize on them increase when we keep our eyes and minds open as time passes and we utilize all the tools God provides.

In our Gospel reading, Jesus gave the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” to Peter.  Why would he do that?  Hadn’t Peter said and done multiple things which would lead a person to question his capabilities.  Remember what Peter said at the transfiguration: “Let us build three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  It seems that he felt he had to say something even though it sounded dumb.  His response reminds me of a story in a fifth grade class room where the teacher told the story of a man who was fishing not too far from shore who somehow fell overboard and the teacher said that man’s wife, who knew he couldn’t swim, ran to the bank.  The teacher asked her students why his wife would run to the bank and one girl raised her hand and said: “to draw out all her money.” I suppose, the girl had raised her hand and felt like she needed to say something and said the first thing that came to her mind.  That sounds like the reason for St. Peter’s response.  He felt he had to something.

A person might wonder why Jesus wouldn’t have chosen someone better educated or more capable by human standards than Peter. Someone like St Paul who is the author of our second reading. It isn’t likely that Peter would ever have been say as Paul said to the Romans, “Who can measure the wealth and wisdom and knowledge of God?  Who can understand God’s decisions or explain what God does?  Has anyone known the thoughts of the Lord or given him advice?  Has anyone loaned something to the Lord that must be repaid?”  But the historical facts are in and the Church that is based on Jesus’ teachings has survived for 2000 years.  So we logically can conclude that Jesus’ decision to give Peter the keys of the kingdom was a good one based on God’s wisdom.  Peter had been with Jesus for three years, didn’t always agree with Jesus but, without question, said the right thing when asked: “And who do you say I am?” when he responded, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”

Jesus decision to call St. Paul to follow him after getting Paul’s attention by knocking him off his horse was a good one but just as questionable as God’s selection of Peter as that person to whom Jesus gave “the keys of the kingdom of heaven”.  If you recall St. Paul was the one who, before Jesus got his attention, was persecuting and supporting the killing of Christians one of whom was St. Stephen.  But divine wisdom prevailed and St. Paul turned out to be God’s traveling salesman and that person and you and I are here to testify to that.  It was Paul you who was the apostle to the Gentiles, the non-Jews.  Just as Paul said in the second reading, “Who can understand God’s decisions or explain what he does?” That is a great question for each of us as well, but based on our answer to the question to Peter, “Who do you say I am?” and we respond as Peter did, “You are the Christ, the son of the Living God.” How can we do anything but trust God even when we don’t understand?  God gave Peter one role and another to Paul and he gives each of us our unique role.  We have a common bond in Jesus and it is up to each of us in our own uniqueness to determine just how God wants us to be his disciples and apostles, sent in our world to spread the message of Jesus, Love of God and Love of our Neighbors.  Each of our roles may and likely will change in the future but respecting the wisdom of God it is great to remember:
“IF GOD BRINGS ME TO IT, GOD WILL BRING ME THROUGH IT.”

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