DEACON5 readers, Dcn George is ill, so this is Dcn Chuck, filling in for him.
Prayers for you, my brother, that you’re back to full health soon!
The 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.”
On our trip to the Holy Land a few months ago, we were blessed to be able to visit Caesarea Philippi, the location of today’s Gospel, where Jesus had this conversation with His Apostles. It was a beautiful location indeed, and you can see it in the photo I’m including with today’s reflection.
On this day when we remember Saints Peter and Paul, we can be thankful that we have the Bishop of Rome, descended in a line of succession from Saint Peter, there as a sign of unity of all the Christian people.
It’s interesting to note that not only does Jesus reward Simon for speaking up (and saying that He (Jesus) is the “Christ, the Son of the Living God”), by saying that he is blessed, He also gives Simon a new name, Peter, a name that had not been given as a person’s name before Jesus gave it to Simon.
Peter means “rock”, and we can’t miss the symbolism – Jesus was naming Simon (Peter) as the rock on which His church would be built. Peter was not necessarily “rock-like” in how he was as Jesus’ follower (remember, he denied Jesus three times!). But, once Peter received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he took that boldness and led the early believers. He truly *was* the Rock on which the Church was built!
All popes down through the ages were not perfect, either. But, when they teach about the faith, when they speak with the authority that they have through the Holy Spirit, we can trust what they say. So, let us be thankful for Pope Francis, the current Bishop of Rome, and pray that the Holy Spirit continue to speak through him as he leads the people of God on earth.
Action for the Day:
Today, say an Our Father for the intentions of Pope Francis, and praying that He never cease to speak the truth to us, the family of God around the world today.
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!