What "keys" have you been given to exercise authority, at home, at school, in your parish or neighborhood? What ways will you try to serve, lead, and influence others in order to further God's kingdom here on earth?
In the first reading, God is speaking to Shebna, an official in the king's palace. Shebna has been more concerned with building up his own power than in serving God. He exercises his authority over others rather than for them. So he will be replaced by Eliakim, who will hold the "key of the House of David on his shoulder." This key is a symbol of authority that comes from God. A good leader places his or her trust in the Lord.
In the Bible a key is often used as a symbol of authority and of opening and closing. Leaders have the responsibility of opening the doors of happiness and wisdom for those whom they serve. Pray for all who have positions of leadership, that they will use their authority wisely.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2
Think of the people in your life whom you might call "wisdom figures." Why? What qualities does a person of wisdom possess? What will you do to become a person of wisdom to others?
Although this second reading is from a letter, it sounds more like a song. Realizing that God created everything and keeps everything in existence, Paul bursts into this hymn of praise. He is awed by God's mysterious ways, which are beyond our understanding. Make the prayer of St. Paul your own: To God be glory forever. Amen.
What image of God's kingdom speaks to you?
Discussion Questions for Gospel
How do you respond to the question Jesus asked the disciples in today's gospel? How will you live that response?
Jesus challenges his disciples with the question "Who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter, the spokesman of the group, replies, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." As soon as Simon confesses this deep faith, Jesus changes his name to Peter, which means "rock." Peter is to be the firm foundation on which Jesus will build his Church. Jesus also gives him the symbolic "keys of the kingdom of heaven." Peter would have the authority of leadership in the Church after Jesus' ascension. Today, the Pope with the bishops, the successors of Peter and the apostles, exercise that same authority.