A scholarly attempt at an interpretation of Sunday's liturgical readings.

Who was that masked man?

     Do you remember those days long ago when there was no television but only radio?  (Sounds like an historic time dividing line like BC or AD doesn’t it?)  One of the most popular radio programs of that period was the Lone Ranger.  The program ended with the question, “Who was that masked man?”  The implication being that because of the Lone Ranger’s good deeds, people wanted to be like him.  The more folks knew about you the more they wanted to be like you.

     In today’s Gospel (20th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Matt. 13:16-20) Jesus is asking his disciples if they know who he is.  He seems to be a type of “masked man” since people don’t know him.  Because to “know” well is to emulate, especially a hero.  Peter articulates his “knowledge” by telling Jesus, “You are the Christ the Son of the living God.”   A twofold affirmation is made:  (1)-Christ=Messiah, the promised savior, and (2)-the specialness of Jesus.  The presumption is that Peter acted on this knowledge as is indicated in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. 

     First of all, how do we know Jesus?  Passively, as if he existed only in church and we visit him from time to time?  Or actively, as Peter did, as savior and as someone special?  True “knowledge” means emulation.  So that says, while we claim to “know” Jesus, we should continue to treat others with dignity, respect, justice, compassion, and understanding.  In truth, one actually “knows” Jesus by the way he/she treats other people.

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