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Para leer las lecturas y el evangelio oprima aqui .
At the university, in the first year of philosophy, the teacher will pose a question that has been asked millions and millions of times and yet there is not a clear answer to such an old question: Who are you? The fool, the unwise, the unlearned will be quick to answer and their answer will satisfy them, but is it the right answer?
For Jesus to have asked the disciples: “Who do people say that I am”, he must have pondered and meditated on the same question: “who am I’’.
Think for a moment, stop what you are doing; ponder: Who are you?
Stop, take it seriously, and take a minute.
You may say: I am a teacher, I am white, I speak English, I am human, I am skinny, I am rich or middle class, I am this and I am that, etc.
But, Jesus was looking for something else; his question had to do with the Soul; with its mission. He was not interested in the gossip of town. What other people thought of him was really irrelevant. He lived his life free of public opinion and political correctness, just like Pope Francis who is aware of the risk he takes when he speaks openly about justice and right Christian living. Jesus was looking for those who spend time thinking of their actions, their sins, their lives in relation to God; he was looking for an answer that came directly from that God-given essence.
So, what did you come up with? Who are you? Are you still pondering?
If you think back, you will realize that your answer changes often; every decade of your life speaks by itself: when you were a teenager you had one answer and when you turned twenty or thirty or sixty you had another. If your answer changed over the years, then it is the wrong answer. An answer that changes with time deals with human development and character. In other words, it deals with things you were given at birth, like religion, skin color and education. It also deals with things you have acquired, like a career, a spouse and children. It might deal with things that happened to you, like a robbery, a gift or a sickness. All those answers deal with your relation with the world you live, move and have your being.
The question of who you are is deeper than that; it requires divine wisdom; it requires pondering, it necessitates an experience with God (a personal one). Who you are, from a soul perspective, has nothing to do with your language, your religion or your culture; it has to do with the purpose or mission you brought into the world by your very “being”. That’s the beauty of Peter’s answer: “You are the Messiah”. It means that he pondered for a long time and was touched by the Spirit. It means a religious, mystical, experience of God, where everything else matters very little. At that very moment, Peter, was transformed, he was connected with his Soul; he understood his mission and his purpose, but not for long.
Although, it is not part of today’s gospel, if you keep on reading on Matthew 16:23, after Peter recognized Jesus as the messiah, he then tried to convince him not to do his mission. Peter went from being inspired to being human and mundane. This passage is important, because it shows how we can be inspired one moment and lose it immediately afterwards. This is not a judgement against Peter; it is an observation about our human nature. One day you can have a clear picture of your mission, while the next day you have forgotten it.
Most of us are Catholics, because we were taught by our parents. Do you think you would have converted to Catholicism if you had been born in Iraq as a Muslim or in Haiti as a Voodoo priest? This is a tricky question, so please don’t answer it lightly. Over the past 29 years as a priest and 40 plus years as a Catholic, I have seen few people choosing their faith out of their own personal growth; the majority did not choose, they followed something they were given, but did not understand. St. Teresa of Avila fought with nuns and priests who lived sinful lives within the walls of monasteries and churches.
Pope Francis believes that many Catholics see the church as a social club. His criticism seeks to inspire people to that ancient question “who am I” and “what does God want from me”?
I believe that the majority of people, whether Catholics or Protestants, do not know how to ponder; they are unaware of what God wants for them; their answers are ready-made found in the mouth of unwise and uninspired priests, parents and society.
As a preacher, I know how easy it is to preach without inspiration; one can condemn this or that church; or condemn this or that group. Peter began to preach against Jesus’ sacrifice. HE thought, he knew better, but God’s ways are not ours and very soon, Peter, found himself making the same sacrifice and died on a cross.
Peter’s death came out of his inspiration, not from his mundane way of thinking.
Who are you? Why are you here? Why do you go to church? These are big questions that require brutal honesty and a commitment to God’s wisdom. I like to answer them with other questions: How did I do yesterday if Jesus had been on my side and had coached me on what to do? The “who am I” requires an action and an impact in the world (it’s the doing in Christ).
Ultimately, the answer is: I am one with God and there are brief moments in my life in which I am inspired and have seen that unity manifest in me. So, I am constantly pondering, hoping to bring that inspiration in and experience unity with Him one more time.
I pray for those who are searching for a personal experience of God, who take seriously every breath they take and use it in their path of inspiration.
I would like to announce that I have been chosen to be consecrated bishop. On November 18, 2017 I will be consecrated at 11:00am. In order to be recognized by the Vatican as legit, three bishops will be present. It promises to be a great celebration and the beginning of a new mission. Please pray for me as I get ready for this new step.
Remember that you can listen to some of my sermons in English and Spanish on the webpage: http://archangelschurch.org – look for past sermons.
Fr. Marc Angelo
2851 W. 120th St. Suite E-279, Hawthorne CA 90250
Fr. Marc Angelo
Fr. Marc Angelo and Fr. Jacob are very appreciative of your support and your contribution to Archangels and Seraphim Church: please continue to support us by visiting http://archangelschurch.org/ and making a generous donation. You can also send a check to: 2851 W. 120th St. Suite E-279, Hawthorne, CA 90250. May God multiply your generosity in health and love! Thank you
Mass every Sunday at 5:00pm (Spanish) and 6:00pm (English) at St. Mary’s in Palms 3647 Watseka Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034-3914