Even today there are lots of opinions on who Jesus is; but today’s readings remind us that the most important opinion is our own: who do I say Christ is? Jesus wants our personal response!
The first reading shows the contrast between the faithful servant entrusted with the keys to everything in the palace, and the steward who is stripped of the keys due to his infidelity. The palace is the Royal Palace. The master of the Palace (the steward) represented the king’s interests in many ways and the king’s name. Shebna was fired for being an unfaithful steward. Instead Eliakim was given the keys because he would stand firm in fidelity to his Master in his service to all.
In the second reading, St Paul reminds us that a far great responsibility that Eliakim’s is entrusted to Peter and his legitimate successors. The Pope has an enormous responsibility before God to guard the ‘deposit of faith’, to be a defender of the faith handed down by Christ and the Apostles. As chief shepherd and visible Head of the Church, to feed the sheep with true doctrine and to be the ‘rock of unity’ in the Church.
WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?
Jesus in Sunday’s Gospel quizzes the Apostles about the rumour mill regarding who He is.
Is He simply another prophet, or John the Baptist returned from the dead? Various responses are offered.
Then Jesus says:
But who do you say I am?
Simon receives an inspiration from the Father and says:
You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Simon’s faith was rewarded by Christ’s trust in Him and just as Eliakim was entrusted with the keys to the House of all David’s possessions; Simon is entrusted with the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven:
Simon you are a happy man, because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you, but my Father in Heaven. So, I say to you: You are Peter (meaning rock) and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it…. I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven…..
Peter is promised Primacy in the Church and this gift would be bestowed on him, after Jesus rose from the dead and after Peter’s triple affirmation of love, to make atonement for his triple denial during the Passion. Peter would be the first Pope, the visible Head of the Church on earth. Each validly elected Pope is a successor of Peter. He receives the keys of infallibility in Faith and Morals when teaching ex cathedra. However, were he to fall into heresy, he would be like Shebna and automatically lose the keys and his office as Pope.
Down through the centuries, the Catholic Church has undergone enormous trails, first under the Roman Empire, then just to name a few: the French Revolution, Nazism, Communism, radical Islam and a modern atheistic society. But no government or leader or ideology has ever been able to destroy the Church because it has Jesus Christ, as the Cornerstone and Invisible Head. It is instituted by God Himself! It may get smaller before blossoming again, but it can never be destroyed! In our days, the Church, as the Mystical Body of Christ is reliving the Passion of Christ for the purification of the world. But we know that there is a new era on the horizon, where after this is over, God’s Will is to be done on earth as in Heaven! The Kingdom of the Divine Will, which we pray for in the Our Father, is to come upon the earth, evil will be defeated and it will become a new terrestrial paradise. So, although there is much confusion and suffering in the world and Church today, these are really the birth pains of the new era of the Kingdom of the Divine Will! So, let’s always live in hope!
The indestructible nature of the Church reminds me of the great monastery at Monte Cassino in Italy, which was built by St Benedict. Fifty-one years after its foundation, it was demolished by the invading barbaric German Lombards. In 520 the monks rebuilt it. In 642 the Saracens, the Moslem invaders, captured and devastated it. But it again arose from the rubble. In 1343 an earthquake levelled the whole complex, but a new complex soon emerged. In 1943 American planes bombed it relentlessly, mistakenly thinking it was being used as a base by German soldiers. But soon after the war, American Catholics rebuilt the Monastery. The monastery is a good image the Church which always arises again from every persecution.
As Catholics we are the ‘living stones’ (cf. 1 Peter 2:5) which make up the Mystical Body. So, the health of the Church depends so much on the health of the members. Since the 1960s in particular, there has been a huge attack on Catholic morality and God’s Plan for the family. There has been the sexual revolution and contraception, much impurity and bad values which comes into homes through the TV, no-fault divorce, pornography, putting homsexula relationships on a par with marriage and transgenderism. It is now more necessary than ever to reject watching TV and instead for families to pray the Family Rosary, participate in Eucharistic Adoration, make the Eucharist the centre of your lives, go to Confession frequently in order to keep your hearts clean, practice Christian Mediation, read the Scriptures and the volumes of the Book of Heaven by Luisa Picarretta. The volumes are available through “Casa Luisa” in Spearwood WA. If we desire holiness, Jesus will help us every step of the way.
He asks each of us today: Who do you say I am?
The way we answer this question will define our lives. Jesus is our only Savior, the Judge of the Living and the Dead. So, let’s foster through steadfast prayer, the most important relationship in our lives, the one we have with Our Lord!
Praise be Jesus Christ, now and forever!