On A Firm Foundation – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily August 23, 2020

“Do you remember, I think it was a few years ago when the church, Notre Dame in Paris France, burnt down? It was a world wide thing and for me I was just there months before and I saw this church it was beautiful and to see it actually burning on TV live was heartbreaking, but then after that it became a big thing of ‘should they rebuild it, or should they restore it or what about all the money that goes to it’ and all these people who weren’t even religious were donating money. The thing about that church and every church is not about the building. It really is about the faith of the people who built it. Notre Dame was built not in a day. It was built in weeks or months or even in years. It was built over many many years, really lifetimes. An inspiring thing is that people who built it, they continued to build it every single day knowing they wouldn’t see the end of it and it was passed down from generation to the next generation who would build upon the rocks that they set down, but I think that has such great faith to start something, but know that you won’t see the end of it but that there is something greater to it and that’s the faith of the people who built that church, but it had to lay on a firm foundation and in today’s Gospel that foundation is shown to us. Today in the Gospel Jesus asked, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ Who do people say that I am? Really, he’s kind of taking a poll. ‘Well some say John the Baptist or some Elijah’ But he didn’t wanna know only that. He asked specifically to the disciples, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ But not all the disciples answered did they? Because I don’t think they were even sure except for Peter who says, ‘You are the Christ. The son of the living God.’ He wasn’t the smartest person as you can read in the Gospels [Peter] wasn’t the smartest one. He wasn’t even the most beloved one, the most holy one. John, the beloved, the one who would rest his head on Jesus’ breast at the last supper. That was more of the beloved one, so again not the smartest not the holiest one, but the one that God gave this to because he said that not flesh and bone have you got this from, but from my Heavenly Father. So it was a gift and so our faith, each of our faiths is a gift, but it’s laid down by that foundation of Peter the Rock. Peter, the name Peter, actually means rock and Jesus says, ‘Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it.’ And so our Church begins, but again not as a building as we see it now but as a living stone. Each one of its members a living stone not built of brick or mortar or stone, but of living stone that each one of us builds upon the other but it’s laid down on the foundation that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God and that’s where we lay down our foundation of our faith upon that we have a relationship with our God that we are sons and daughters of God and because of that our lives should look different. Our lives should look different. Does your life look different in the world? When people ask, ‘Are you Catholic?’ Do you proudly present it? There is an old saying that if being Catholic or Christian was illegal would you be found guilty? Would people see it that you were guilty of your faith out in the world? Now we are called to be in the world, but not of it and as I see when they were talking about the rebuilding of this church they were just looking at it as a building as a piece of art but again it was built of living stone that you just can’t replace and so today, today when say there’s division in our world, there’s imperfect people in government in church in businesses we should have hope in today’s Gospel that after 2,000 years we still stand strong, but also built upon this rock this foundation the gates of the netherworld will not prevail. That means even though we have struggles in our lives that the Church will stand strong despite it that Christ will always be with us. So my question to you today is, who do you say that Jesus is? Who do you say that Jesus is?

As you come before the Lord today where Christ is truly present before you, let us continue to have the strength and the courage to say that he is truly the Christ, the son of the living God. Amen.”