21st Sunday in OT (Is 22:19-23; Matt 16:13-20)
PONDERING GOD’S WORD (Meditation)
Caesarea Philippi is found in the northern part of Israel. It is a place of springs, the water source that flows into the streams leading to the Sea of Galilee. Here, there used to be a flourishing Roman city where stood a lot of Temples dedicated to various Roman deities.
It is in this ambient where Jesus asks his disciples who do people say the Son of man is. Their responses are expected, the so-called textbook answers: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, one of the prophets. After all, people were expecting these personages to return. The follow up question was the more important one: “But you, who do you say I am?”
This was the question they had in fact asked when about nine chapters back they experienced Jesus calming the storm: ““What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?” (Matt 8:27). From then on, they have heard and seen many words and deeds from Jesus. They have likewise previously praised him, “Truly, you are the Son of God” (Matt 14:33). This time, the response comes through a bold statement from Peter: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus—Messiah and Son of God! This answer made Jesus bless Peter and affirmed his answer as having divine origin. Peter himself is affirmed as rock, on which will be established the church. To him will be given the keys to the kingdom of Heaven. This is an affirmation of the one church and the visible leader, Peter. The leadership has been given by none other than Jesus himself.
- Beyond what I know of Jesus from our Religion classes and from Bible study, who is he for me?
- The Pope is the successor of Peter. How do I see the Church in her work in the world of today?
Pray for the successor of Peter, Pope Francis, and the universal Church. Bring before the Lord the present concerns of the Church that you would wish to pray for.