First reading: Isaiah 22:19-23.
Psalm: Psalm 137(138):1-3, 6, 8.
Second reading: Romans 11:33-36.
Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20.
Link to readings.
In today’s First Reading, Isaiah shows us how the Lord, as king, rules – he is one who cares for his subjects as for his own children. The worthy king holds the ‘key’ of absolute authority. The Gospel recalls Simon Peter’s answer to the question, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ As a trusted servant he is given the ‘keys’ of the king.
The Apostle Paul, in the Second Reading, is moved by the richness and depth of the Lord’s thoughts and ways. He speaks not through fear and awe, but rather through wonder and gratitude. Likewise, the Psalm is a song of praise in thanksgiving for the faithfulness and love of the Lord, which always come before any response on our part.
Perhaps, this week, I might feel called to ponder anew that ‘faithfulness and eternal love’ of the Lord for me, and what my response to this might be. Who do I say the Lord is, and what might my answer mean for the way I live my daily life?
I enter into prayer slowly and take time to become still. I am patient. How do I feel as I come to prayer today? Perhaps it may help to imagine myself before the holy temple in the presence of angels.
I read the lines of the psalm, very slowly, perhaps out loud if it helps. I pause at the end of each line, allowing the words to penetrate me until they seem to fill my being. I notice what moves me and I linger.
I might like to share with the Lord what seems important to me now. Perhaps something of the eternal, faithful love of the Lord is striking me. What does this love, which is without parallel, feel like? What might my response be like?
Or maybe it is something about me being a ‘work of the Lord’ that draws my attention. Do I have a sense of being noticed by the Lord? What is it like to be in the Lord’s hands? How do I feel now?
I allow my prayer to open out in any way that feels appropriate.
When it is time for me to bring my prayer to a close, I come back to the heart of the psalm – thankful adoration. I end with some words of heartfelt gratitude before making a slow sign of the Cross.
Matthew 16: 13–20
As I come to my place of prayer, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me be attentive to the encounter with the Lord in this Gospel. I read this familiar text very slowly. Perhaps there is something striking me afresh or touching me in some new way. I pause often, allowing the
words to seep into my heart. It may help to try to enter into the scene imaginatively by placing myself in it. But however I approach the text, I will have to face the question sooner or later: ‘Who do you say I am?’ The disciples were confronted with it in Caesarea Philippi; I myself in my own particular place and time.
How does this question sound to me? In what tone of voice is it asked?
How have I answered it in the past? How would I like to respond now? And in the future …? Again, I ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen me. Jesus called Simon Peter ‘happy’ because the truth he spoke was revealed to him from the Father. I might like to consider times when I
have felt happy – or ‘blessed’ – through being close to the truth ... even, perhaps, where this has involved some personal cost.When ready, I end my prayer in the company of the Lord, being attentive to him and paying attention to anything I feel he might be saying to me. I conclude with a slow Our Father...
Reflections based on Prego by St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham