Knowledge for Christian service
Knowledge of Christ is what matters above all. Those who know him receive in trust keys of authority to serve others faithfully and caringly.
The Father, Lord of heaven and earth, gives to the childlike the knowledge he hides from those who are wise. Peter is among the childlike. Or else, he would not know nor confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
The knowledge and confession of Peter are right by the grace of God. But grace does not do away with nature.
Acknowledging that, like children, he lacks knowledge, Peter does not close himself to what learned people say who Jesus is. In the first place, then, could Peter’s openness not make for his receiving the revealing grace of God?
In the second place, the promise of Jesus shows that divine grace implies human cooperation. Yes, he promises to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” In doing so, he confirms the name of Peter and explains besides its fuller sense.
But the promise to the one who has just affirmed the true identity of Jesus does not come to facile fulfillment. It will become clear later that the true confessor needs to cooperate further. He still has to keep an open mind, heeding the teachings of Jesus to have the necessary knowledge.
Without knowledge of the true Jesus, we turn into stumbling blocks.
It does not take the foundation stone too long to become a stumbling stone. That is how easily we can end up putting in doubt our knowledge and confession as people Jesus has called together. And this can happen to us quickly if we do not know him because we do not know the Gospels.
Among other things, then, we must know the true Christ of the Gospels. Our knowledge of the real Jesus will spur us to conform to him and his Good News. It will also lead us to deem everything as rubbish, compared to him and his teachings.
Moreover, the example and teachings of Jesus will never let us down and will make us as firm as the rock (CRCM II:1). They will likewise convince us that Christian authority does not consist in being served but in serving. Consequently, we will prove that we know and follow Jesus by serving others faithfully and caringly.
Lord Jesus, make us, who received the grace of knowledge of you, faithful stewards of the mysteries of the kingdom. Gird yourself someday, make us seat at table and go on to wait on us.
27 August 2017
21st Sunday in O.T. (A)
Is 22, 19-23; Rom 11, 33-36; Mt 16, 13-20