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From Safari…..


The above phrase is an example of a cryptoquip. Each letter stands for another. If you think X=O, for example, it would equal O throughout the puzzle. Today’s Cryptoquip key: B equals O.

A book is a key to new ideas or adventures. Remember getting the car key for the first time --- freedom! A treasure chest is opened with a key. Jesus today gives Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. With these keys comes a great responsibility. Peter was given the authority to bind and loose, to close and open. For Peter and the early church there was the decision concerning the gentiles. Could gentiles join this new way without following all the steps of Judaism, especially circumcision? The early church decided the gentiles did not.

Responsibility and keys is at the heart of our passage from Isaiah. Shebna, as master of the palace could determine who came before the king. Being in the inner circle, the master of the palace was also able to give advice to the king. Isaiah was seeking Shebna’s removal because he had convinced Hezekiah to form an alliance with Egypt to fend off the Assyrians, instead of remain faithful to the one covenant that really mattered, the covenant with God. Shebna also misused the treasury. Shebna was not acting in a responsible manner with the power he had been given.

By nature of our baptism, you and I have also been given keys to the kingdom of heaven. As Methodist pastor William Ritter (op. cit.) put it, to whatever degree keys have been placed in my hands, my first thought is, “Don’t lose them.” My next thought is, “Don’t abuse them.” If our ministry is truly to be a continuation of Jesus’ ministry, then we should open more doors than we close, build more bridges than we burn, welcome more people than we turn away and serve more people than we refuse. (August 2008, Celebration, The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, Kansas City, MO.)

The issues today are many and complex ---what is woke? Who can receive communion? Welcoming LGBTQIA2S+. Climate change. Immigration. Abortion.

We have been given the keys --- scripture, tradition, the sacraments --- to address these and other issues. Even with the keys, how to respond is messy, Church leaders don’t always agree. Yet as I reflect on the Gospel, Jesus is constantly including and not excluding. Including is grounded in the principle that all are children of God. Including isn’t the accepting of every behavior but helping each person to discover God’s will. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit may we make room for all in the Church.

Have a joy filled week! Fr. Ron

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