During the week we celebrated the memorial of Pope St Pius X. He was the pope who introduced the “Decree on Frequent and Daily Reception of Holy Communion”. Perhaps over time since, we have been guilty of taking for granted our privileged reception of Holy Communion. Daily and frequent availability have somewhat taken away the awe and wonder of this mystery of our faith. The memorial also reminded us this fact: the succession of popes can be traced all the way back to Peter.
“So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’” (Today’s Gospel)
This too is somewhat mystery. This unbroken line to the apostolic church.
Today, science has revealed many hidden mysteries of nature. Knowledge has schooled us, and information has shaped our attitude towards the unknown, somewhat denying us acceptance of mysteries. Affluence came hand in hand with progress, putting ourselves higher on the pedestal of life. Everything needs to be proven. We need to understand before we can believe.
Somewhere along the line, we have lost the sense of mystery. The early church had faith and grew to understand. Today we need to understand before we embrace faith. Faith transcends science. In this sense, faith is a mystery. At every mass we recite the mystery our faith, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again”. But our human mind is limited in its capacity to fully understand God.
“How rich are the depths of God – how deep his wisdom and knowledge – and how impossible to penetrate his motives or understand his methods! Who could ever know the mind of the Lord?” (Second Reading)
There are many mysteries of our God. He is this unconditional, non-judgemental love, rejected a hundred times over by us, but who continues to follow us silently in our earthly life. He is this humble Eucharist, waiting and giving himself up in Holy Communion, every day at daily mass even if there are very few people coming. He is a God so almighty, so why must he wait humbly and faithfully for us? This is the mystery of our faith, the mystery of our God. We can never fully understand but we can have full faith.
The mystery of God is in our everyday life. An Almighty God, Creator of the Universe desires a personal relationship with you and me. He comes daily and frequently in spiritual communion with us. When we take away our sense of mystery, we lose ourselves the daily opportunities of witnessing God actively intervening in our daily life, in the little details. We shut ourselves from being in awe and wonder of our God. It is the experience of mystery that gives us faith. And then, we can understand.
In today’s Gospel, You asked us, “Who do you say I am?” Andrew Louth, an Eastern Orthodox priest and professor of theology says, “the mystery of faith is not ultimately something that invites our questioning, but something that questions us”. Today’s question should leave us all in awe and wonder.
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time