Categories: HomiliesPublished On: August 23rd, 2020Tags: , 662 words20.1 min read

Here are links to our readings for the day:

An Oceanic Marine Biologist

Growing up in the Midwest, especially in the Dakotas, there were not a lot of lakes around nor are you close to any type of ocean. Yet I remember very clearly how many of my classmates wanted to become Oceanic Marine Biologists when they grew up. I had no idea what the words meant. And I thought that it meant there would be a lot of work. Besides, as you all know, there are no oceans in South Dakota. This was not going to be a vocation for me. And as I look back on my classmates’ careers, none of them became Oceanic Marine Biologists. Why? Well for the most part, there are no oceans in South Dakota.

Jesus took His disciples up to Caesarea Philippi where there is a huge rock, 200 feet by 600 feet. Pagans have been worshipping their gods for centuries at this location. When Herod took over, he turned it into a worship site for the Roman pagan gods. Now, Jesus asks His disciples in front of this rock: who do people say that I am. The disciples mention Elijah, John, or a prophet. Jesus now asks who do you say I am? Simon says: you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus says, you did not get this on your own, but God gave you a revelation. Why? Simon called Jesus the Christ, in other words the Messiah. In Jewish thought, the Messiah would be the one to overthrow the Roman government and establish Israel as the ruler of the world. Perhaps Simon thinks this is going to happen. But Simon also said, “. . . the Son of the Living God.” There is no place in the Old Testament or in the Jewish religion that mentions the Messiah would also be the Son of the Living God. That is entirely a totally new concept. This is the first place this thought that the Messiah would be the Son of God appears anywhere in the Bible. That is what makes this a true revelation from God.

Simon has been given a revelation. Simon states the truth, Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Once you realize who Jesus is what happens next is remarkable. Jesus tells you what your vocation is. Jesus tells Simon what work he will be doing for Jesus. And to do this work you will have a new name. With that great rock in the background, symbolizing power for the pagan gods, Jesus now gives Simon the name Peter, meaning rock. Instead of huge, hard rock, Peter will be the rock which comes from the heart. And it does not stop here. Jesus says, Peter, you are the rock upon which I will build my church. The word church is only used twice in the Bible. This is the place where Jesus begins His Church. Jesus begins only one church, His Church. It is not a church divided into many denominations. But His Church. And Peter is His Vicar. The first leader of the Church. All of this happens outside of Israel in front of pagan god temple. All other Christian churches come from human beings. The Catholic Church is the only Church that can be traced back to Jesus, right to this particular place in the Gospel.

It is important to know how the Church came into being. But today, for you, I think it just as important that you realize, when you acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus will then tell you what He wants from you. Jesus will define your vocation for you. The decision then becomes yours. Will follow Christ? Or turn away?

May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Fr Ed Anderson
Email: fatheredanderson[at]
Phone: 715.817.3736

St. Joseph Church – Rice Lake
Holy Trinity – Haugen
St. John the Evangelist – Birchwood
Our Lady of Lourdes – Dobie

Fr Ed Anderson