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Week of August 23

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 23
Glenna Smith, OSB, Benedictine Sisters of Virgina, Bristow, VA

Mt 16:13-20
Who do we say Jesus is? Even two thousand years later, do we say that Jesus is the Christ, our Messiah? What does it mean to have the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven or to bind or loose something on earth that will remain bound or loosed in heaven?

Having the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven has traditionally been understood to Catholics as authority for the Church on earth given to Peter by Jesus. The power of binding or loosing, a power that had been claimed by the Pharisees, was perceived as power given by Jesus to Peter and the disciples.

Let me pose another perspective, not to erase our traditional understandings, but, maybe, to expand on them. What if each of us, as disciples of Jesus, has the Keys and has the power to loose bonds created by fear or hurt or misunderstanding or selfishness or not knowing that God’s love is theirs, too? What if, by our words and behavior, we have been given the responsibility, opportunity and power to open the gates of God’s love to or for others? Frankly, I perceive this as a responsibility and a gift I have been given by Christ. May I, may we take this seriously. May our words and behaviors let others know of that wonders, salvation, extravagant love are available to them, too.


Sister Glenna Smith entered the Benedictine Sisters of Virginia in 1977 and has served her community and their ministries for 40+ years as teacher, prefect, camp director, counselor, principal and administrator, school psychologist, member of various boards, formation director, monastery coordinator, and subprioress. She was privileged to serve the Federation of Saint Scholastica as president from 2010-2014.

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