The gospel mentions two ways. First, there is the individual witness of others: sometimes with persuasive and reasoned arguments; sometimes with fiery emotion; sometimes with silent and long-suffering example. These individuals are trying to call forth the best in us, and their insistence can move us to conversion. Then there is the communal witness of the Church. At times this witness comes with an authoritative word filled with objective truth – and rather bluntly. Sometimes it comes with the gentle tact and earnest care of a mother, encouraging us to take another path. We need both these witnesses.
But from what do we need to be won over? Ultimately, we need to be won over from hardness of heart, a hardness that plugs up our ears. That is the root of the problem: hardness of heart that manifests itself in plugged up ears.
So what do we need to be won over to? I think to a deeper embrace and immersion in our unique vocation and mission. We all have a place prepared for us by God in the Body of Christ. Especially through prayer God clarifies what we are to do for the good of the Body of Christ and the world. Prayer and mission are the way our ears are unplugged and our heart softened.
The Eucharist is the whole reason for being won over. Here we have the feast of the Lamb whose blood is the source of all winning over. Let us rejoice in this Eucharist with all the saints who have been won over by this same blood. The Lamb is in our midst, for we are all gathered in His name.
Excerpts from Father Vincent’s Sunday homily on Matthew 16:21-27.