8/27/2023 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reading: Matthew 16:13-20
13 Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 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.
18 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.
19 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.”
20 Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
8/27/2023 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reflection: Matthew 16:13-20
Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one? How firm is your belief? When trials come, will you remain a follower or will you deny your faith?
Reflecting on the life of Peter, we can see that he is as frail as anyone. We recall how he denied Jesus three times when the moment of truth came! Yet, he was quick to acknowledge his failure to stand up for Jesus. He remained a steadfast follower. He believed in the love of Jesus and that he will be forgiven. And Jesus forgave him!
Like Peter, may we be firm in proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ, the savior of mankind.
Although there are still some discussions whether the rock that Jesus mentioned refers to Peter himself or to his proclamation that Jesus is the Christ or both. Peter became the leading figure in the early part of the Christian movement. His faith in Jesus was strong enough to overcome persecution including imprisonment. When he died, he was crucified upside down because he claimed to be unworthy to die like his Master Jesus.
Of course, the true rock is Jesus Himself. It is in Him that we anchor our faith. Then our faith becomes the key to His kingdom. Yet we can learn a lot from Peter. His decisiveness to leave everything behind and follow Jesus, His faith in the lordship of Jesus, his humility to acknowledge his weakness and his dedication to lead the church make him a true saint.