Upon this rock I will build my church

08-23-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. Arul Doss

Dear People of God,

“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.” (Mt 16:18-19)
In today’s Gospel we read, Jesus gives the keys to the kingdom of heaven to Peter one of His Apostles. What moves Jesus to give keys to this disciple? We already know Peter as someone who is rather quick and rash in his judgement.

Jesus acknowledges Peter because Peter has said in reply “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” [Mt 16:16]. It is the reality of our Jesus. He has recognized that Jesus is Son of God and is from heaven. Peter is seeing in this man Jesus that the Kingdom of heaven has now entered human history in the best and clearest way possible.

Peter is coming to the realization that heaven and earth have met in this man Jesus. What looked like two separate worlds has now come to be joined in this Son of the living God.

Peter’s insight into Jesus and his origins is a gift from the Father in heaven. The Father in heaven has given Peter the gift to recognize Jesus as Son of the living God. Jesus calls Peter “blessed are you.” He is blessed because he has responded to the revelation of the Father in heaven. This recognition of Jesus and the blessing that flows from this is part of the mystery we remember and celebrate this Sunday.

Peter has become the rock where the word of God in Jesus is being built up in the world of earth. Jesus goes on to acknowledge that in Peter. Jesus can now talk about building. Jesus speaks of Peter as one on whom Jesus can form a community. Peter has become a living stone, the beginnings of the kingdom.

He has recognized in Jesus the image of the living God, his very son, the deepest possible relationship there can be with God. In Peter, Jesus can be confident that his own message and work will continue. The community that gathers around the new world of heaven and earth together has a future in time.

To acknowledge who Jesus is to become a living stone in a new community where the Kingdom rules. Somewhere, sometime, in each of our lives like Peter we answered Jesus’ question. But are we now allowing Jesus to build with us his community on earth? The keys to the Kingdom are keys to life. Is the life of Jesus flowing through us so that his church, his community, is truly a reflection of heaven on earth?

The keys Jesus gives are special keys. They are keys to open the gates of life. Life is the power and authority they serve. We stand in that authority each time we build up life in another, each time we offer hope, each time we say we are with you, each time we open our mouths and confess a word that lifts up another. When we do that, we are a rock in the community called Church.

Note: Dear Friends, this weekend, I am going to Bloomer and Cooks Valley parishes for my diocesan Mission coop. A guest priest will be doing Masses for this weekend. I am praying for you all.

Have a happy and Blessed Sunday!!
Yours in Christ Jesus,
Fr. Doss