We often hear that our way is not God’s way and when we examine the life of Jesus we can see a real example of this. The Jewish people were hopeful of a Messiah coming and rescuing them from the tyranny of Rome. They expected a powerful leader who would go into battle, much the same as Jesus’ ancestor David did centuries earlier. Someone who would pick up the invaders by the scruff of the neck, take them to the borders and throw them out of Israel.

But as we know Jesus was not like that, Jesus was born in a stable, was forced to flee his homeland by a tyrant king, grew up within a family who trusted God and ensured Jesus learned about God and his people. Jesus advocated love instead of violence. Jesus exercised power in a way that mankind finds difficult to understand.

This is part of what St Paul is emphasising in our second reading today; God makes decisions which we humans struggle to understand and at times we find unfathomable. A perfect example of this is found within our Gospel. If we as humans were to pick the perfect person to establish the Church, take it into new lands and to new cultures; how many of us would have chosen a fisherman, who would go on to deny Jesus three times at the very moment when we humans would have judged Jesus needed his closest friends to vouch for him more than at any other time in His life?

In our first reading we hear of an unsuitable palace official; who had abused the authority given to him by his master; being removed from his post and it being given to Eliakim. Eliakim is given all of the symbols of office including the key to the House of David. Jesus as the long awaited ‘Son of David’ appoints Peter as a new steward to look after His kingdom on earth. The keys being the symbol of authority; this authority has been passed down all the way to our current Holy Father, Pope Francis, he is Christ’s representative on earth; Pastor to the world with an authority which comes from Christ Himself.

Today, the successor of Peter is the son of poor Italian immigrants who went to Argentina seeking a new life. He is a man who asks our priests to be like shepherds who smell of their flock. He advocates for the poor and preaches love for all life from conception to natural death. As Baptised Catholics we are compelled not to keep our faith to ourselves. Christ’s love is big enough to be shared with everyone.

In these difficult times, we need to look for opportunities to help. As Christians we are called to live out our faith. We each need to ask ourselves – What can I do to love my neighbour? Within society at the moment we are being asked to contribute to the common good by obeying the latest guidance to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

I recently read that we may find it uncomfortable to wear a mask, but it is far more comfortable to wear a mask in a shop than it is to be connected to a respirator in a hospital. We are asked to curb our normal social activities and as Catholics we are well aware that we were unable to attend church for a significant part of this year.

But just because we are beginning to be permitted to go back to some of the activities we were previously accustomed to, doesn’t mean the virus has gone away. A second wave is expected, and we need to maintain our guard and continue to protect the most vulnerable in our Community.

Today Jesus asks us – Who do people say that He is? How relevant in our lives is Jesus? Would our neighbours recognise us as followers of Jesus, not just because we go to church (or take part online) but by the life we live?

As a deacon, I am called to serve. My service has to be for the benefit of those I serve and should never be self-serving. As Catholics, we have been baptised by water and the Holy Spirit, how do we allow the Spirit to work in us? Do we allow the gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit to flourish in our lives for the benefit of others? When St Peter stated that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, he made that statement for us to learn, for us to acknowledge and for us to share with those we encounter. How can we share what we acknowledge in our Creed this week?

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • Pope Francis as he leads our Church during this pandemic, may he continue to be a voice for the underprivileged.
  • All those who struggle to understand the will of God.
  • All those who are at risk of unemployment or who have already lost their job.
  • For those tasked to make decisions about businesses, help them to realise that their decisions affect their fellow man and woman. Help them to make decisions which protect employees as much as they protect shareholders.

Deacon Tony Darroch, 21st August 2020.

If you are struggling to find resources or would like suggestions please email me on adarroch@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk or if you would appreciate the odd call from me during this time please send me a message with your contact details and I will get in touch.