Peter the rock
August 09, 2018
18th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jr 31:31-34
Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi. He asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of man is?” They said, “For some of them you are John the Baptist, for others Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Jesus asked them, “But you, who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “It is well for you, Simon Bar jona, for it is not flesh or blood that has revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.
“And now I say to you: You are Peter (or Rock) and on this rock I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it.
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven.”
Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
From that day Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem; he would suffer many things from the Jewish authorities, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. He would be killed and be raised on the third day.
Then Peter took him aside and began to reproach him, “Never, Lord! No, this must never happen to you.” But Jesus turned to him and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path. You are thinking not as God does, but as people do.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Today’s Gospel is about the primacy of Peter. No less than Jesus declared Peter as the rock foundation of his Church. By symbolically giving Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, Jesus was committing to Peter the powers of loosing and binding. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven”, Jesus told Peter.
“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven.”
When Peter died, the powers of binding and losing had to be handed down since these powers were to be at the service of the Church. These same powers are exercised today by the sitting Pontiff, Pope Francis. Popes die or resign, but the office of Peter remains. Sustained by Jesus’ promise that he be with his Church until the end of time, this office endures to steer the Church through time.
The entrustment of the Church to the care of Peter and his successors has two important implications.
First: the Church itself remains human because she is manned by frail human beings. Second: because left to human hands the Church is not secure, the Lord has committed his abiding presence to the Church until the end of time. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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