A Note on Today’s Readings Proper 16: Sunday closest to August 24—Year A
Welcome to St. Gabriel’s Parish.
Today we reach a watershed moment in Jesus’ ministry as recounted by
Matthew. Jesus asks his disciples who the people and they believe he is. It is
Simon Peter who replies, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus affirms Peter’s leadership of the church even though Peter will show lack
of certainty in this confession later.
As we continue the story of God’s people, last Sunday found them living a
privileged life in Egypt. Several centuries have now passed and today we hear
that a new king arose in Egypt “who did not know Joseph.” The Hebrew
people, the children of Israel, are now slaves and suffering. However, to one of
them is born a child who is saved and adopted, ironically, by the daughter of
the Egyptian king. He, Moses, will be the central character in the next several
We continue to read from the Epistle to the Romans in the second lesson. The
final section, which we begin today, deals with the way God’s people are to
live in relationship to each other and to the world. Today Paul focuses on the
varied ministries of all members of the Church given to us in baptism.
All our attempts to explain our faith—from Peter’s faltering faith to Paul’s
complex theology—rest upon the encounter we have as a people with God.
That encounter leads always into the symbolic, the metaphorical and
sacramental expressions of Christian worship and that always leads us into the
various ministries to which God has called us. Our most profound theological
expression is this action of Word and Sacrament, of story, song, meal, and
bath, which is at the center of our worship.