A readings 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."
“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."
Years ago, I had to take an intelligence test to see if I was smart enough to study for an alternative certification to teach in my state. The test really picked my brain and challenged me to think, placing one thought into another thought. In this passage, I think Jesus was testing his disciples, picking their thoughts to see who the Father wanted for the first pope. Peter gave the answer Jesus was looking for and in turn, Jesus immediately gives Peter the authority. What a magnificent position Peter was given to glorify our creator and Father because of his faith and love for the Lord.
The authority of the priesthood seems to be clearly defined by Jesus. We should always pray for our priest, who are the rock to our local church, to be able to bind or loose on earth according to God. The priests administer the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, lifting us up to the gate of heaven. They offer us a peek into the gate when we receive Jesus, giving us strength to build the Kingdom. Jesus also leaves us the assurance of God’s protection against evil, which is such a tremendous comfort and blessing to us as we go through rough times in our church history.
We are not all called to the priesthood, but I think we all need to be a rock in some fashion to build the Kingdom of heaven. Each time we pray we bring the heavenly choirs to earth. We build the Kingdom through loving others and working toward justice, keeping our eyes on Christ and following the one who has been given the keys.