Reflection on the Gospel-21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A (Matthew 16:13-19)

‘Be yourself. Everybody else is taken,’ sings Melinda Schneider. The lyrics of this lovely song, composed for Melinda’s dying father, affirm some fairly obvious truths. Even though we know that ‘everybody else is taken’, most of us spend much of our lives trying to measure up to other peoples’ expectations and fail to be truly ourselves. In our self-absorption, we can also misread others and fail to know them as they are. Being accepted as we are is among the most precious of gifts. Jesus knew this. He was utterly true to himself and he allowed others time to discover for themselves his real identity and the nature of his mission. If the mission was to succeed, then ‘people’ needed to look beyond their preconceptions about him and accept him as God’s anointed one, as son of the living God.