As I mentioned in introducing the Gospel, it's kind of a confrontation because Jesus is demanding of his disciples after he's been with them for maybe a year, year and a half, close to two years: "Who do you really think I am? What do people say about me?" You heard the answers, but then he confronts them directly: "Well, OK, who do you say I am?"
The Peace Pulpit
The Peace Pulpit (with audio): Before we loved God, God loved us. He loved us so much, he drew us into being. Listen to Bishop Gumbleton's latest homily.
I was reminded again of an incident that happened with Pope Francis on Pentecost Sunday -- and perhaps I've shared this with you already, but it's so extraordinary that it's worth reflecting on again.
Later this afternoon, as Father [Don] Walker announced last Sunday, this parish, together with Our Lady of Grace will have a procession with the Blessed Sacrament and celebrate Benediction at the end of that procession. Many of us, I'm sure, remember days long ago when this was very common: Corpus Christi, the Peace of the Body and Blood of Jesus, where we have outdoor procession and we walked around in the streets, publicly acclaiming our belief that that piece of bread was really and truly the body and blood of the Son of God.
I'm sure all of us have noticed over the past few weeks now how many times Pope Francis comes into the news because of the kind of unusual things that he's begun to do, the way he's carried out his understanding of the role of what it means to be the bishop of Rome. One of the things that he did quite recently that I find very instructive, especially as we reflect on the Trinity today: He was at St. Peter's Square and, of course, as is so often, there were tens of thousands of people there and at one point, they all began to cry out in unison, "Francesco! Francesco! Viva Francesco!"
Peace Pulpit: Each of us is blessed with gifts and then called to service, to minister within the community and, as part of the community, to minister to the world.
Sometimes things are happening in the world around us that provide a very good context to listen to the Scriptures, as we're doing this morning during this liturgy. What's going on, you may have heard about, is controversy within our church. This past week, there was a demonstration [in Detroit] of people who call themselves Fortunate Families. They were demonstrating in front of the archbishop's office because they're families who have committed gay members within them, or lesbian members.
Many times we have spoken and heard the Gospel at different times express ideas about the reign of God, the kingdom of heaven. What do we mean by that reign of God, what Jesus spoke about at the very beginning of his public life? "The reign of God is at hand. Change your lives. The reign of God is ready to break forth into human history in its fullness." We can speak about the reign of God as God's dynamic role of saving love over all of creation, over each one of us, over all of humanity, where God's love becomes the dynamic force energizing all of us and all of creation.
The Peace Pulpit (with audio): Each of us must carry on the work of Jesus, to be that Good Shepherd who knows and loves others. Listen to Bishop Gumbleton's latest homily.
This Gospel that we hear today is really sort of a surprise because if you remember last Sunday, that scene in the upper room eight days after Jesus had risen from the dead and he came back and showed Thomas his side and his hands and so on -- at the end of all of that, in John’s Gospel, he writes, “There were many other signs that Jesus gave in the presence of his disciples, but they’re not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Believe, and you will have life through his name.”