OMELIE / Omelie EN

27/08/2017 - 21ª domenica del T. O.  - anno A

27/08/2017 - 21ª domenica del T. O.  - anno A

1ª lett.  Isaia 22,19-23  dal Salmo  137/138  2ª lett.  Romani 11,33-36  Vangelo  Matteo 16, 13-20

The wisdom and the knowledge of God” are really rich and deep. This is what Saint Paul says, but it is also what I say when I realize how Jesus’ life is prefigured or prophesized in what happens to some of the characters of the Old Testament, I never stop being amazed and discovering new wonders. The story of Joseph sold by his brothers or that of Moses saved from the waters, or the prophets’ life, all of them are prophecies and prefiguration of Jesus. And even the words of Isaiah resounding in today’s liturgy are words that will sound true again coming out of Jesus’ mouth. He will say to the leaders of the people that “he will…give the vineyard to others” because they are not acting in their Owner’s spiritual interest, but in their own worldly interests, fooling the poor. “The vineyard”, that is to say God’s real people, will be given to His disciples. And He Himself will entrust the keys of the kingdom to Peter: and nobody will ever take them from him.

Actually, today we witness this important and new action. Jesus, the King of God’s kingdom that starts spreading in the world, thinks about handing His inheritance over to men. He does it in a very wise and sensible way. First of all, he brings His own to the borders of Israel, to the extreme North, where paganism is very strong, letting people perceive His influence over the life of the faithful and pious Hebrews living there, too. In the region of Caesarea Philippi, actually, there are sumptuous pagan temples built on the rocks from which the river Jordan flows. The river of the fathers’ faith, a symbol of God’s protection, the place even John chose in order to prepare the coming of “the One who is to come”, is filled with idolatry at its very source. Our Lord brings here the disciples. They need to realize what kind of world they live in, a world which they will need to distance themselves from in order to save it, in order to offer it the new way that will relieve it from the oppressions and lies among which it lives and suffers. Here Jesus questions His own. They have to be aware of the existence of paganism and to be ready to affirm the difference of their faith. “Who do people say the Son of man is?”: in this way Jesus makes them think about it. What is the true identity of Jesus? It is under discussion among many that have expressed their opinion about it. Everybody agrees that he must be an important person, and everybody recognizes that he is also mysterious, because he has risen from the dead: John the Baptist and Elijah, Jeremiah and someone else of the prophets are all already dead. If he is one of them, he has to have risen from the dead. Why then the people are still pursuing their own interests, without following Jesus obediently? Those dead he apparently represents are all well known. Everybody knows what they did and they taught, so they are also convinced that he does not have anything new to say.

The disciples know what people are thinking and saying. To this people Jesus will send them, bringing them the news they carry in their hearts. Which news? They themselves have to declare it: “But you, who do you say I am?”. Are you also convinced that I am a person you already know and that I have already risen from the dead? The answer comes from Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”. It is like he would say: you are new, still unknown, you bring us not the life of dead people, but God’s true life.

Jesus understands that His disciples are different, that they really started to believe in Him. He is happy about it, because Peter’s words are not the conclusion of reasoning, they are not coming from intelligence, not even from particular emotions. Those words are a gift from God, from that God that made Himself known as His Father when he entered in the Jordan in front of John. And Jesus understands also that Peter, with this affirmation of a new faith, is the beginning of a new reality, stable and steadfast like those rocks on which, nearby, has been built the temples dedicated to Pan, god of “everything”, who was giving acceptance to men’s vices like they were devotions or adoration of proper gods.

In front of the Twelve Jesus makes a solemn promise: “So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it”. Those temples will collapse, even if they are built at the source of the Jordan, but the new temple, built on Him, on Jesus, will last forever. And again, the Lord promises the keys to whom asserted with courage the new faith. Peter receives the name that is the foundation of a holy building, and he will receive the keys of it, in order to shut it and to open it. Who shares his faith will enter it and inside it they will enjoy the Father’s love and protection.

We share Peter’s certainty, and we are happy to be able to be of effective and reliable help too to many that are getting closer to Jesus. We are and we will always be living stones to partially carry the weight of the building that shelters the children of God, in order to love them and bring them to salvation.