Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

When I informed my mother that I wanted to join the Jesuit Novitiate about ten years ago, she was furious, telling me never to call her or to come home. I did obey her request and did not call her for many months. But on feast of St. Monica, which falls on August 27, I decided to call my mom because I realized that despite her anger, it was her long prayers that led me to the priesthood. I was drifting away from the Catholic faith during my college years. In those years, my mom constantly prayed to the Blessed Mother that She will guide me to the right path. So I believe that God really answered my mom’s prayers and showed me the right path to the priesthood. When I finally called my mom, I reminded her that she must be careful about what she prays for.

For many years, St. Monica prayed for the conversion of her son St. Augustine. It was not until Augustine came to Milan and met St. Ambrose that he had the humility to give up his old lifestyle and be baptized. Indeed, St. Monica is a model of patience. Her long years of prayer, coupled with a strong, well-disciplined character, finally led to the conversion of her brilliant but haywire son, Augustine.

In the Gospel reading today, we heard the exchange between Jesus and Peter. Jesus said: “Blessed are you, Simon Son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” How do you relate to the image of a “rock”? What does it mean for your life? When it comes to patience, we must remember that sometimes patience is a hard rock to carry. We live in the era of social media and technology, with smartphones, tablets, paypal, facebook, twitter, snapchat, etc. so we have little patience for things that take time. Likewise, it’s extremely difficult for us to carry a hard rock of prayers, as we want instant answers to our prayers.

Are there perhaps areas in your life where you need to be patient? Do you feel moved to carry the hard rock of patience in your life.

August 27th, 2017