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Not to be served, but to serve PDF Print E-mail

21 August 2011: Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Those older among us might remember that in the days before TV, we could listen on the radio to ‘The Catholic Hour’.  It would be introduced with the words "You are Peter, the rock, and on this rock I will build my Church.  And the gates of hell..." proclaimed solemnly with the Trumpet Voluntary as background music.

It all sounded so glorious and triumphant.

But the Church Triumphant is a reality we acknowledge at the end of time.  The Church on earth will always be a Church of saints and sinners.  A knowledge of Church history is proof of this.  In our time, we have all been scandalised by the evidence of clerical abuse, especially of children who were entrusted to the care of Church members.  It would seem that Church authorities were more concerned with preserving the reputation of the institution than the welfare of the victims.

In today's gospel, Jesus asks the question "who do you say that I am?"  When Peter gives the answer, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God", Jesus once again like so many times in the gospels states that he must suffer and die.  "He has come," he said, "not to be served, but to serve".  True to his words, Jesus lived a life of service to the point of accepting death for the sake of our salvation.

Let us pray that we, the Church, and especially Church leaders and the clergy may follow the example of our Lord, and be willing to serve humbly, to acknowledge our failings and be ready to ask for forgiveness.