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Who do you say that I am?
Isaiah 22:19-23; Psalm 138:1-3,6,8; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-2

Sermon Week Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle A

Scripture Summary Matthew 16:15

On a busy summer afternoon in New York City’s Times Square, two men, only a few feet apart, carry two very different forms of identification cards. The first man proudly offers his card as payment for an excellent meal in a trendy restaurant. It’s the “Black Centurion Credit Card” – offered by invitation only to an elite group of customers. As the hype promises, the card provides “whatever you need, whenever you need it.” The card identifies the man as a member of that exclusive club that says, “I’ve made it. I’ve arrived.” Just outside the restaurant on a nearby corner, another somewhat different card is offered as identification to passersby as the second man, homeless, receives donations. Now common in many of America’s large cities, the laminated photo ID is required for admission into soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

It is Jesus who invites you now, not into “an exclusive club,” but into the Kingdom of Heaven, which is available to us all. It is Jesus who provides “whatever you need, whenever you need it.” As you embrace this message, you can claim the identity as a card-carrying member of the Christian community.

Today's Gospel Lesson includes the Apostle Peter's answer to the question of Jesus' identity. "Who do you say that I am?" Jesus asks. "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God," Peter answers (Mt. 16:15-16). Perhaps Peter did not at first realize the full significance of his confession. Maybe it was only on the other side of Good Friday and Easter that Peter truly understood that Jesus is the Christ who has come to save us from sin, from bondage, from spiritual emptiness, and even from death itself. Jesus is the Christ -- the Anointed One -- who anoints us with the saving Grace of God.

Today's text brings us to the point in Matthew's Gospel, where Jesus' ministry will change drastically. Jesus has been walking through those sun-drenched fields of Galilee down by the beautiful, deep-blue inland sea. He has been giving new life to people who have responded to Him and accepted the Rule [...]

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