Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Commentary for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul by Sr. Carol Falkner, OSB

Sr. Carol Falkner is the prioress of Our Lady of Grace Monastery.  She shares with you today her reflection on the Gospel of St. Matthew 16:13-19.

The Gospel for this Sunday deals with the question of faith. Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” With an act of faith Simon Peter replies, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Leo Anchettin comments that in Matthew’s account, Peter used the words “the Son of the living God” to describe Jesus, a phrase not found in Mark’s report of this incident. Some scripture scholars, comparing these two versions, conjecture that Mark may have preserved Peter’s original words while Matthew, drawing on a slightly later more mature, understanding of the nature of Jesus in the early church provided the fuller description. This is an important point for us to note: Faith is not static; it is meant to grow and develop and should never become stagnant.

Our faith journey needs to take us to the point where we, too, could make a similar proclamation. As we meditate on the Scriptures, we come to understand not only that Jesus was the Messiah come to save the people, but also that Jesus is God, equal in every aspect to the Creator and the Holy Spirit. We will spend a lifetime deepening our understanding of this great mystery of the Trinity. There is always more to grasp, more areas of our life where we need to model the depth of this mystery as manifested in the Scriptures. Only God can grant us the grace necessary for such spiritual growth. However, we must spend time each day in prayer making room for God to reveal these mysteries to us. This is what Benedict knew from experience and this is why he put such great emphasis on prayer.

Who of us can fully know the mind of God? Only God can give us knowledge of who Jesus is, so that we can proclaim Him Messiah in our lives. By the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love, we are drawn to express our desire to understand Jesus better, to turn to Him in our time of need and to extend His love to others. The more we understand God, the more we will long for the fullness of revelation that begins here on earth and will take us to the fullness of life for all eternity.

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