Mass Readings for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

  • First ReadingIsaiah 22:19-23: “I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim’s shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut when he shuts, no one shall open.”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 138: “Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands.”
  • Second ReadingRomans 11:33-36: “For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?”
  • GospelMatthew 16:13-20: “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Themes for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

The readings for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time for Year A remind us that God’s wisdom is not the same as our own wisdom. In the first reading we hear that God has the power to remove the mighty from their positions of leadership. In the second reading Paul tells us that we cannot know the mind of God, as his wisdom and knowledge are beyond us. And in the gospel s that Jesus is the Christ, and Jesus declares that this is a revelation from the Father.

  • Authority
  • Faith
  • Prayer

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A.

Resources for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Hello. This Is Jesus – A Lesson Plan on Our Relationship with Jesus

If we had to introduce Jesus to somebody, would we be able to? How would we identify Him? This reflection asks us who we think Jesus is and challenges us to think about our relationship with Jesus.

Ah So Co Game

This Ah So Co game is a fast paced circle game. Use it for your youth ministry, VBS, or camp. It works well for six or more players. This energizer is all about following directions. It is also about saying and doing the right thing at the right time.

A Prayer of a Grateful Heart

This prayer is based on Psalm 138, which is this Sunday’s responsorial psalm. It expresses gratitude for God’s loving care. We may seem insignificant in this world, but we are important to our Heavenly Father.

Prayer for Pope Francis, Our Holy Father

One person who often requests our prayers is our Holy Father, Pope Francis, the successor of Peter.  In fact, his very first Instagram post was simply captioned “Pray for me”.

Seeing the Big Picture Youth Ministry Game

This seeing the big picture game is designed to help youth understand that it can be disorienting or difficult to understand something if we only see it from a small perspective. It can be difficult for us to understand why the Holy Spirit is leading us somewhere unfamiliar or why the Church has a teaching.

Homilies and Reflections for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

The Authority of the Church

In this reflection for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, Jeff Cavins explains why we can trust the Church.

The Inscrutable God

From Bishop Robert Barron. “I want to concentrate this week on our second reading, which is a very brief passage from Paul’s magnificent letter to the Romans. It comes at the end of chapter eleven, which completes the Apostle’s consideration of Israel in relation to the Church. How do we make sense of the ancient Jewish tradition in light of the resurrection? How do we understand Gentiles coming to the faith when salvation was supposed to be through the Jews, many of whom were rejecting the Christian faith? Looking into these questions, we learn about the inscrutability of God.”

Oh, the Depths!

From Scott Hahn. “‘Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!’ Paul exclaims in today’s Epistle. Today’s Psalm, too, takes up the triumphant note of joy and thanksgiving. Why? Because in the Gospel, the heavenly Father reveals the mystery of His kingdom to Peter.” Continue reading.

No One Can Experience Jesus for You

From Father Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation. Why does Jesus tell the disciples not to tell anyone that he is the Christ? Because we must encounter Jesus for ourselves. We cannot depend on someone else’s experience. Who do you say Jesus is?

Did Jesus Envision a Pope?

From Dr. Andrew Swafford at Ascension Press. “The “keys,” point back to a specific Davidic office, the al bayit—literally the one who is “over the house.” This person was second in command to the king. The al bayit had the authority to govern in the king’s name while the king was away.” Continue reading.

The Keys to the Kingdom

From Loyola Press. “It is important to read today’s Gospel and next week’s Gospel as two parts of a single story. These readings are a turning point in Matthew’s Gospel. This week we hear Jesus name Simon Peter as the rock upon which he will build his Church. Next week we will hear Jesus call this same Simon Peter ‘Satan’ when he reacts negatively to Jesus’ prediction about his passion and death.” Continue reading.

More Thoughts for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Who do I think Jesus is? A divine vending machine? I put in Mass time and prayers and get out heavenly rewards. An accountant? I need to make sure that on my life balance sheet my good deeds add up to more than my bad ones. A sponge? I tell him everything that is bothering me in life and let him absorb it. No response required. The list can go on and on.

To really know Jesus is not within our power. Like with Peter, it must be revealed to us. For many of this, it will happen little by little throughout our lives, through experience and prayer. And just when we think we have it figured out, a new encounter with our Lord will change our perspective and reveal even more.

Reflection Questions for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

  • Who do I think Jesus is?
  • How do I feel about the authority of the Church?
  • Do I try to help others encounter Jesus for themselves or just tell them what to think?

Quotes and Social Media Graphics for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:36

We hear Jesus’s question directed to each one of us: “And you, who do you say I am?”. It is a question of giving not a theoretical answer, but one that involves faith, that is, life, because faith is life!

Pope Francis

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