Gospel – Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
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.”
Reflection on Sunday Gospel
Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God…
The gospel for the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul includes Peter’s powerful confession of faith that Jesus is the Christ. It is worth asking oneself from time to time, “Who is Jesus?” If Jesus is who the Church’s faith proclaims Him to be in the Nicene Creed, “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father . . .” then Jesus is worth every ounce of our energy, affection, and attention. Risen Jesus, give us the grace to confess that you are the Christ!
Jesus’ response to Peter, “Blessed are you . . . for flesh and blood has not revealed this . . . but my heavenly Father,” reminds us that faith is a gift. We can accept the gift of faith or reject it, nourish the gift of faith or let it flounder. Faith in Christ, and the graces that life in His Spirit enables us to call upon, makes it possible to live in right relationship with God and neighbor. Apart from Christ and His Spirit, the moral life is a human impossibility; we cannot do it on our own! Risen Christ, please increase our faith!
The final part of this reading, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church . . .” should give Catholics confidence in the Church. It is a confidence that should lead, not to triumphalism, but to humility and service. The Church – the People of God, the mystical Body of Christ, the Temple of the Holy Spirit – will prevail through the ages because the human aspect of the Church, often sinful and messy, is not the whole story; the Church is first and foremost a divine institution because Christ is its head. We have the guarantee that Christ is guiding the Church through the authoritative teachings of the successor of Peter and the bishops. Risen Christ, please gift us with a humble confidence that You speak to us through the authoritative teachings of the pope and the bishops!
St. John Baptist de La Salle … Pray for Us!
Sts. Peter and Paul … Pray for Us!
Live Jesus in our Hearts … Forever!
Br. Peter Killeen, FSC