Audio Sermons

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

    Amazon offers hundreds and hundreds of books in the category of
    self-discovery. They have titles such as “100 Days of Self-
    Exploration”, “The Road Back to You”, “Get a PhD in You”, “An
    Enlightened Path to Self-Discovery”, “The Adventure of Self-
    Discovery”, and “Self-Evolution: Break Free and Discover the Real
    You.” The authors address the subject from any one of a number of
    approaches: from psychology to religion to astrology, and from new
    age mysticism to traditional philosophies with most of them
    promising in their titles and book descriptions the possibility that the
    reader will be able to uncover their true selves, achieve a more
    profound self-awareness, and obtain a higher level of happiness and
    self-satisfaction. Now, self-awareness is not a bad thing.
    Understanding your inclinations and thought process can be helpful
    too.

    There is, however, a Christian way of understanding of a your
    identity and it is based on two things; relationships and actions.

    There are two relationships that form our identity as human beings.
    The first is God’s relationship to us and ours to God. The second
    relationship that forms our identities is the one we have to others.

    We know about our relationship with God because God has revealed
    it to us through His actions toward us which are considerable.

    God has created and is creating the world in which we live.

    God has fashioned us in His image

    God has endowed us with intellect, self-awareness, understanding,
    emotion and the ability to love.

    God has given us choice and freedom.

    God has called us to righteousness.

    God commissioned prophets to form a people.

    God has sent his Son to us.

    God has done and does a lot for us in this relationship that God has
    initiated with us and Peter, understands that. He recognizes Jesus as
    the Christ, the Son of the Living God and identifies him as such. And
    in the company of Jesus he witnesses even more actions of God
    through Jesus.

    Jesus reveals the mind and heart of God.

    Jesus dies for sinners.

    Jesus heals the afflicted

    Jesus extends mercy.

    Jesus feeds his faithful ones with his own flesh and blood.

    Jesus accompanies us. Jesus ascends to intercede for us.

    Jesus sends the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit:

    Encourages us, sanctifies us, unifies us, helps us to pray, instills
    fortitude, and empowers us to forgive.

    That is who God is. That is what God does. That is what God is
    doing. God is not out there somewhere apart from us. God is active
    and if I do not identify Jesus as the Christ and understand that my
    relationship to God is based on God’s actions then there is a lot about
    who I am that I will not know. I simply will not know who I am
    because I cannot know that apart from God.

    And without knowing who I am when it comes to God I certainly
    will not know who I am when it comes to my relationship to others
    because those relationships will also suffer. Why? Because without a
    an active relationship to God my relationship to others is based on
    what? It will be based in large part on how they treat me. And since
    no two people treat me the same way then my relationships to others
    will always be changing too and then how will I know who I am?
    Without an active relationship to God then my relationship to others
    will be based on my moods, emotions, and feelings which are also
    changing. Without an active relationship to God then my relationship

    to others will be based on whatever situation I find myself in or on
    what I think is in my best interest. Again, these things change too and
    if my relationship to others is governed by these changing things I
    have no hope of knowing who I really am as a human being.

    But, if like Peter, I identify Jesus as the Christ and am aware that
    there is an intense relationship that God has with me then in turn I am
    identified by Jesus in a way that does not change moment to moment,
    day to day, situation to situation. Jesus identified Simon Peter as a
    rock, that’s a pretty solid identity.

    So, how does Jesus identify you? Who are you, to Jesus?

    You are a neighbor who treats even the stranger with compassion.

    You are a sheep, a member of his flock, whom he loves.

    You are the salt of the earth, which means you keep it from
    deteriorating.

    You are the light of the world. You shed light for those who live in
    darkness of doubt and sin.

    You are a forgiven sinner who in turn forgives.

    You are a seeker of righteousness. You hunger for holiness.

    You are a herald of the Good News. You know of the resurrection.

    You are a brother or sister to him.

    To Jesus you are love – because you love God above all things and you
    love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    That is who you are.