A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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: " 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."
Many people have nicknames--some are nicknames of endearment, others are nicknames emphasizing a person's physical appearance, or some are nicknames emphasizing a person's accomplishments or talents. Mine is a term of endearment by my brother and cousins--"mana" (hermana).
Jesus changed Simon's name to Peter when he first called him to be a disciple. Peter had a long journey-- first, he wavered in his faith--almost drowned when walking on water, then he told Jesus not to go to Jerusalem and take up his cross. He did not understand who Jesus was. Yet Peter knew that Jesus was someone not to lose, someone not to let go. Even when Jesus told him "Get behind me Satan" Peter still stayed with Jesus. Peter promised he would never deny him and in one evening denied him 3 times. And as a teacher and a student interact, Jesus continued to teach and mold Peter into the person he knew he could be. Peter knew that he had no place to go when Jesus asked him if he too was going to leave. Peter stayed with Jesus, begged forgiveness and turned to Jesus each time he sinned.
And when Peter was asked, "Who do you say I am", it was in this declaration of “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” that finally Peter proclaimed without a doubt that Jesus was the Messiah. It was because of Peter's faith, his desire to believe, his desire to be forgiven and restored that Jesus gave Peter (the Rock) the authority over His church and His apostles. Jesus dwelled in the heart of Peter, in his memory and intellect and even his imagination. His faith was to be the rock solid foundation of the Church of Christ.
His nickname of "Rock " identified his talents. In spite of failures, he remained firm under pressure, in spite of denying Jesus, he was loyal and in spite of impulsiveness he was trustworthy.
Are we ready to follow Jesus with the same faith as Peter? Do we stand firm with our Church in spite of the ongoing sexual abuse scandal? Are we loyal to Jesus, the Church, the priests, the congregation? Are we trustworthy or do we cower and join the accusing crowd? Do we ask forgiveness for the sins of the clergy and for our sins? Do we atone? Do we ask Jesus to help us grow, as Peter, into the person He wants us to be?
PAPA prays daily for our priests, bishops, cardinals and Pope. Pray with us. Visit our website papamio.org
God Bless you.