1st Reading – Isaiah 22:19-23
At various times we have reviewed the three author theory for the Book of Isaiah, the last time being the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time for this cycle. The first reading for this week comes from the first portion, that which has been attributed to Isaiah himself by all scholars. But are there really three authors? Aside from scholarly interests, Jewish-Christian tradition has always recognized Isaiah as the human author of the entire 66 chapters.
After the Psalms, Isaiah is the Old Testament book most quoted in the New Testament: 22 quotations and 13 references (six to the first part of the book and seven to the second) and all the references refer to Isaiah by name.
Three documents testify to the Book of Isaiah having its present form between the second and third centuries B.C. These are the complete Hebrew text discovered in 1947 (the Dead Sea Scrolls), the Greek translations of the Septuagint, and the praise of Isaiah in the Book of Sirach which refers to chapters 40, 51, and 66.
Our reading for today is important in understanding how the king’s household (and kingdom) were operated. It goes without saying that we all understand that when the king died, he was replaced by his eldest son (the firstborn, the blessed). But what about all the other positions in the kingdom? What if some official died or wasn’t performing up to expectations?
2nd Reading – Romans 11:33-36
Today’s second reading continues from where the second reading for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time left off. Saint Paul is pointing out how the Jews will attain salvation through the example provided by the Gentiles.
Gospel – Matthew 16:13-20
While Shebna may have proven not to be a worthy steward of the Davidic kingdom, Simon the fisherman has shown himself worthy of a new mission of stewardship in the Davidic kingdom; a kingdom which now has Jesus as its sovereign. As signs of this new mission of stewardship, Simon is given a new name and the symbol of his office as master of the palace.