The WORD in Other Words by Fr Abraham Borja SVD (Jerusalem)
Thursday Week 18 Ordinary Time, Numbers 20, 1-13, Matthew 13, 13-23
Miriam is one of the two Presbyterians who distribute free Bibles in front of the New Gate of the Old City in Jerusalem. One morning, she approached me to ask where I came from and what my religion was. After a few exchanges, she asked: “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?” I smiled and answered: “Yes, I do” and added, “I am a priest.”
Jesus, in today‘s gospel, asked his disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” Peter responded, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” However, Jesus pointed out and made them realize that those words came from the heavenly Father. Jesus emphasized the presence of the Father at work in their midst. The Father revealed and communicated something heavenly to the disciples through Peter. It was as if He was telling them to contemplate on the face of the one asking them questions.
Perhaps that moment of revelation in fact reminded the disciples of a story in the Hebrew scripture, .e. when God “showed his holiness” to the complaining Israelites through Moses (as narrated in today‘s first reading). If the disciples remembered that story, they could have concluded that the one before them — Jesus, the Son of the living God — was the visible holiness of God in their midst.
Yes, God the Father is mysteriously at work in people‘s lives. He makes revelations. He communicates truths. Sometimes, His works, revelations, and communication are difficult to comprehend and, perhaps, one may even ignore or overlook them. Nonetheless, He uses instruments like Moses, Peter, Mary, and above all, His Son Jesus, to reveal his holiness and manifest his active involvement in people‘s lives.