Mt 16:13-20 Who Do You Say That I Am?

This is a syndicated post from Daily Meditations with Fr. Alfonse. [Read the original article...]

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Click here for readings)

Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

The answer to this question makes all the difference in your life.

You are Peter.  Apparently, Simon Peter knew the right answer:  “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  With these words, Jesus said to him, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.”

This morning I had breakfast with a wonderful soul and a beautiful person who happens to be a bit of a fallen away Catholic.  Although she has had many problems and struggles throughout her young life, this angel always manages to have a smile on her face.  Every time she comes to town she calls me and invites me out for breakfast.  During our morning conversation, I asked her what she thought of Pope Francis.  She told me she didn’t know anything about him.  I couldn’t believe it.  Regardless of what faith or no faith you have, it’s hard not to hear his name mentioned in the national media.  Pope Francis is important.  Who and What He represents is important.  After all, if someone were to ask you the question “How do you know the Catholic church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ?” and you only had a minute to answer it, how would you do it?  What would you say?  ANSWER:  Because the Catholic Church is the only Church that can trace itself all the way back to St. Peter, the rock of the Church.

That’s it…especially if you only had one minute to answer their question.    

Of course, how we see Jesus will determine how we see His Church.  So, who do you say Jesus is?

Who do people say that I am?  Forget about what other people think; what do you think about Jesus?  Who is Jesus to you?  Is He the Lord, the Savior of the world?  Is He the Son of the Living God?  I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this question, for what you think of Him will say a lot about what you think of others. 

Who do people say that I am?  This question is often applied to others, especially the disadvantaged.  A lot of children may be struggling with your answer.

Who do people say that…

A fetus or a Down Syndrome baby is?  Am I a mistake to you?  

Pope Richard Dawkins recently came out of his lab, the zoo, to announce to the whole world that it was a moral imperative to abort children conceived with Down Syndrome.  That’s right!  The amateur zoologist and premiere atheist went way out of his field of expertise to tweet:  “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”   

Read slowly his message.  Abort “it”…  Try again…  [If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.]  It would be “immoral” to bring “it” into the world.

Richard Dawkins believes that if a woman had the choice to abort a Down Syndrome baby, and failed to do so, she would be acting immorally.  Now, it’s one thing for a scientist to advocate terminating a pregnancy.  It’s an entirely different thing for him to claim it’s a universal moral imperative.

How you see Jesus Christ will determine how you see others, especially the most defenseless.

Dawkins tweet has more to do with his entrenched atheism (ideology) than with his knowledge of Down syndrome babies.  No reputable scientist would come out with such a dehumanizing statement.  In fact, not too long ago, Dawkins actually took a neutral stance on the morality surrounding abortions.  But now he has come out of his limited box to say and do what few would have imagined:  make a dogmatic declaration!  How unbecoming of someone who hates dogma!

Immoral?  Based on who’s morals?  His own, of course, which is as far as most non-believers can get.

J.D. Flynn, for First Things, wrote a beautiful open letter to Richard Dawkins.  He wrote:

“You’ve often said that people who disagree with you should “go away, and learn how to think.”  I’ve tried to learn to think, over the years, but perhaps I am na├»ve in some says.  But one of things I’ve concluded is that ethical philosophy can’t be done in a sterile environment – that our humanity, our intuition, our empathy, in fact, must be recognized as a source of ethical insight if we want to think well.  Perhaps you believe that your position on abortion and down syndrome is logically valid.  But I wonder if you’re kept awake at night by the revulsion that  comes with being the champion of killing.”

“I have two children with Down syndrome.  They’re adopted.  Their birth parents faced the choice to abort them, and didn’t.  Instead the children came to live with us.  They’re delightful children.  They’re beautiful.  They’re happy.  One is a cancer survivor, twice over.  I found that in the hospital, as she underwent chemotherapy and we suffered through agony and exhaustion, our daughter Pia was more focused on befriending nurses and stealing stethoscopes.  They suffer, my children, but in the context of irrepressible joy. 

I wonder, if you spent some time with them, whether you’d feel the same way about suffering, about happiness, about personal dignity.  I wonder, if you danced with them in the kitchen, whether you’d think abortion was in their best interest.  I wonder, if you plated games with them, or shared a joke with them, whether you’d find some worth in the existence.

And so, Dr. Dawkins, I’d like to invite you to dinner.  Come spend time with my children.  Share a meal with them.  Before you advocate their deaths, come find out what’s worthwhile in their lives. 

I don’t want you to come over for a debate.  I don’t want to condemn you.  I want you to experience the joy of children with Down syndrome.  I want your heart to be moved to joy as well.

Any day next week is good for us except for Wednesday.”

Good Luck J.D.  I will keep your intention in my prayers.  But I must say I doubt Dawkins will ever step foot in your home, and it won’t be because you live in Nebraska.  I just think he feels more comfortable in a classroom and sterile lab.

Bringing everyone together.  Jesus said to his disciples:  “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  This is not a threat.  It isn’t even a warning.  It is a concern.  The Church is on earth to bring all people together:  Africans, Asians, Europeans, Muslims, Jews, Christians, rich, poor, big, small, powerful, defenseless, strong, weak, etc…

The Lord is reminding His disciples of the seriousness of their mission, a mission that is extremely delicate and important for the well being of the world.  He wants His followers to go throughout the world and bring everyone together.  Everyone is welcomed.  Everyone.  No one is excluded from God’s love or family.  All are invited.  All are welcomed.  Hence, no one should be advocating the death of others, especially the defenseless and those who are genetically disabled. 

The human race is not an exclusive club.  All are welcomed:  fetuses, the elderly, the mentally ill and challenged, the physically disadvantaged. All are welcomed.  This is the Church’s message.  This is our mission.  This is why the Church exists on earth. 
(78)

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Fr. Alfonse (762 Posts)


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