TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
"You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do.
Every human being has the inclination to be in charge. Acquisition of power and holding of authority have been the desire of man since creation. Nonetheless, history has it that human beings have misappropriated and mismanaged the exercise of power and position. This is so because the secular misconception of the world has twisted the very core of the essence of power.
God is the source and fountainhead of every power and authority. Power and authority have Divine origin and purpose. God shares His power and authority with us to express His Divine Will in the midst of His people. So, to be in position is to extend the activity of God in our family, faith community and the society at large.
Hence, our readings seek to highlights on the consequences whenever we are unfaithful and selfish with the exercise of power, authority and positions. When we appropriate and manage these in the right direction, we not only affirm but also praise the wisdom and knowledge of God. Thus, we need to develop a personal knowledge with Christ, the Son of God, to be able to have a full grasp of divine will and plan in our exercise of power and authority. Anything short of that can lead to chaos and disappointments.
In the first reading, Shebna, the court official (second in command to King Hezekiah), was stripped of his power and authority, and it was given to Eliakim by God. This is because the former had been unfaithful and proud. So, the insignia of office (keys, sash and robe) were taken away from him. The actual reason for this degradation was that he had tried to immortalize himself by attempting to prepare his own tomb in a lofty place in the mountain.
As Christians, we should desist from abusing, twisting and misappropriating power, authority and positions we hold and exercise to serve our personal aggrandizements and interests. Power, authority and positions are not evil in themselves, but it depends on how you use them. They can be a blessing or a curse. They can raise you up or can bring you from grace to grass. Simply use them to express the will of God.
The second reading echoes Paul’s marvel at the Divine goodness, Wisdom and Knowledge. He praises the wisdom of God and the inscrutable ways of bringing salvation to all people, including you and I. He was profoundly impressed by how God used him to bring the Gentiles to conversion despite the conservative and the exclusivist attitude of the Jews. As Christians, let us use very opportunity entrusted to us to translate the will and plan of God. We are the bridges that connect people to God and vice-versa. Always appreciate and praise the activities of God in your life and acknowledge the presence of God in your achievements. Like David in the psalms, let us be thankful to God for every opportunity given us.
Lastly, Jesus Christ in the gospel reading tested the opinion of His Apostles about His identity. When Simon Peter answered rightly Jesus proclaimed him as the foundation upon which He would build His church. Handing over the keys of authority of leadership of the church to Peter implies appointing him as His vicar to continue His mission and vision in the world. Therefore, you must understand that to exercise power and authority demands knowledge of God and His plans. Also, to accept that you act in the place of God and share with Him in the exercise of power, authority and position.
Stay Healthy… PRAY… KEEP THE FAITH… FAITH OVER FEAR… Let us meet in Church…
Exercise POWER with God…
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.