Is 22:19-23 Rom 11:33-36 Matt 16:13-20
In the first reading today we heard,”I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim’s shoulder;
when he opens, no one shall shut
when he shuts, no one shall open.
I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot…”
and in the Gospel “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
The image of keys was and is a powerful one. Thousands of years haven’t changed the truth that the man with the keys is the man in charge of things. Eliakim was made a king and Peter a pope, and both were given both power and great responsibility when they accepted the “keys” from God. Eliakim took charge of God’s people just as, centuries later, Peter would become the head of God’s Church. This image of keys was one that Jesus’s followers for generations would immediately understand.
These stories often feel removed from us, even as they are familiar. This all feels very far removed from how we choose our modern political leaders. What could this possibly have to do with us?
And then the baby grabs for the jangly keys in my hand and I am reminded that it’s not just world and religious leaders who have been handed a “set of keys.” My own responsibilities may be much less onerous, but they are every bit as serious. My home, my children, my work, my family – these are the keys whose management God has entrusted to me. I am the steward of this tiny part of God’s creation, and someday I will have to answer for how I have managed it.
Have I tended it well? Have I brought my family up to serve God? Am I a good and faithful servant or am I the wicked and lazy servant who has squandered what I have been given?
Image By Sergei S. Scurfield (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons