<TW>Weekend of 23 and 24 August 2008

.=:  T H I S    W E E K E N D  :=.
     from Father Pat Umberger
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P I L G R I M A G E    2 0 0 8

   Southern Italy, Assisi, Rome and the Vatican
   10-22 November 2008
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.=:  V O L U M E   2 0 0 8 , Number 08-24 :=.

.=:  T H I S   W E E K E N D ' S   S C R I P T U R E S  :=.

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A.
Weekend of 23 and 24 August 2008

"I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station."
What could lead the Lord to do this?
 
"I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his
family." Who do we know that could fulfill this responsibility and who has
these qualities? Do we measure up?
 
"The LORD is exalted, yet the lowly he sees, and the proud he knows from
afar." Who are the lowly the Lord sees? Why do you think he knows the proud
only from afar?
 
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said in reply,
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Who do you say Jesus is? If
his is truly Christ, the Son of the living God, how would that affect our
lives and our behavior?
 
"And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my
church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it."
Peter became our first Pope. He is also the one who denied Jesus three times
and who seemed to be very poor at understanding what Jesus told him? Why do
you think he chose Peter? If he chose you, would you respond? How would your
life be more fulfilled if you truly followed God's call? How is life less
when we ignore that call and go our own way?

How are these readings challenging?  Comforting?

.=:  S P I R I T U A L   R E F L E C T I O N   :=.

"Maybe you'll be a priest when you grow up?" "Perhaps you'll be a sister
when you grow up?" Who have we spoken these words to? Those of us who are
priests and sisters today were very much influenced by family members
telling us how honored they would be to have a priest or sister in the
family. We're responsible to make sure many young and not-so-young people
hear these words.
 
 Still, we're not as likely to speak these words to a child who has just
gotten into trouble. We hope they won't be a criminal when they grow up.
Somebody else can be a priest or sister. This child will have enough just
growing up and surviving.
 
 We're missing the boat! In today's Gospel Jesus chooses Peter. He says,
"And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my
church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it."
Peter is the one who denied Jesus three times the same day he said that even
if everybody else abandoned Jesus, he never would. He's the one who faltered
while walking on water toward Jesus. He's the one Jesus calls, "you Satan!"
Peter may have been less surprised to hear it said that he was a "rock
head," not the Rock on whom Jesus would build his Church.
 
 Peter gets the keys, to the Kingdom of God. It's not easy for us to trust
someone with keys. We probably don't leave our car keys lying around, and we
certainly find it hard to give them to our teenager for the first time, and
trust that they can drive safely without us there with them. We probably
guard the keys to our house, place of employment and to other important
places as well. Peter was not predictable. Still, Jesus trusted him enough
to give him those keys.
 
 Trust is powerful. It's a wise teacher who puts one of the class
"disturbers" in charge when he or she leaves the room. The child is likely
to be responsible, and maybe even overly strict. The trust invested just
might lead to a turning point in the child's life as well.
 
 That's what happened to Peter. Jesus trusted Peter. When Peter became the
leader Christ called him to be he received all he would need to be faithful
to his calling as well. As we hear in our readings, the Lord will pull down
the high from their lofty places and lift up the lowly. 
 
 This week we can draw near to God. We can strive to be people who can be
trusted. We, like Peter, can prepare ourselves to accept the mission the
Lord gives us. Have a good week!

 (c)MMVIII Fr. Pat Umberger.  This Spiritual Reflection is found each week
at the Web Site www.frpat.com. Feel free to link to this page or reproduce
them for parish use as long as this credit remains.




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<TW>This Weekend is free, and comes from:
Father Pat Umberger, a priest of the Diocese of La Crosse
in Wisconsin U.S.A.
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