Home » Gospel Reflections » August 23, 2020: Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel reflection

August 23, 2020: Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading: Matthew 16:13-20

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply,
“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.


As is clear in this reading from Matthew there was much discussion and even disagreement on who the Messiah was, what the calculations were on who was going to be the chosen one.

Remember that the gospels were written after the time of Jesus. The three synoptics (written around the same time and including much of the same information, the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke were written for specific groups of people). John, the last gospel written is unlike the synoptics. What is interesting when reading the challenging information on the Church going back to Peter as the Rock is that it is not ever clear that Jesus ever intended to create a building and all of the systems that go with a very large institution. The politics of the early church is much as it is now, the actions of the believers aren’t abundantly clear that the only gold standard for the Church and it’s believers is, What would Jesus do – WWJD.

Our answer to this central question of our faith is presented to us in many ways in the gospels. Jesus was in fact, a prophet. We all know what nearly always happens to the prophets, the men and women calling us back to who Jesus is, what he stands for, and the resistance, dangerous life and standard of justice, mercy and love he calls us to live.


Ponder these questions in prayer: Who comes to mind when I think about prophets of our time? Gandhi? John XXIII or Mother Teresa? John Lewis or Martin Luther King? Who else? What do they all have in common?

What is God calling me to?

Share this:

Sister Ann Sullivan

Sister Ann Sullivan, SP, has been a Sister of Providence since 1964. Her primary ministry through those years has been teaching, grades one through graduate level. She presently ministers as a consultant. She has also ministered as director of a mental health center and was founding director of White Violet Center for Eco-Justice. In her free time you will find Sister Ann enjoying nature in as many ways as possible, especially working in a large perennial and a small vegetable garden. She also values time with family and friends.

Subscribe to the weekly Gospel reflection

Sign up to receive the weekly Gospel reflection in your inbox each week.

Join us for Taizé Prayer

Settle your soul with prayer, simple music, intentional silence and inspirational readings in person or online.

Learn more

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.