February 22, 2014

The Gospel Today 

Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle

Matthew 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter said in reply,
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
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.
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.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Reflection (Sem. Herwyn Bulaun):

             There are several differences between a question of fact and question of relationship. When we say question of fact, it refers to various information about a person like the person’s name, age and address, they are just records of fact specific to a person. These information  are available through documentation offices such as Office of the Civil Registry and the National Statistics Office. A question of relationship on the other hand, refers to the personal encounter of person to the other.

In my experience the more personal the encounter, the more a person knows the character of another. The process of building relationship rooted in trust and love takes time. It is more than knowing the name and factual information of the other.

            Today we are celebrating the feast Chair of St. Peter. In the gospel, we heard St. Peter pronounce his faith to Jesus as the Messiah, Son of the Living God – a pronouncement that expresses the deepest humanity of St. Peter. I believe this is a fruit of his many encounters with Jesus through His preaching, healing and living with them. A declaration of faith rooted on encountering Jesus daily. Because of this, Jesus entrusted to St. Peter the whole Church, despite his weaknesses as a person. This Church or the Catholic Church prevails until the end of times.

            Whenever I am asked of who Jesus is to me, my response is always this: “He is my life”. He is my life because when I was in my teenage years, He rescued me from death through the help of different people. Furthermore, in my hopelessness He provides me hope and love. Now every time I experience struggles and I am down, I always look back to that encounter which I know Jesus never left.

            I believe this is the challenge for us-to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ express through our faith. This relationship is personal encounter and not based on what we learned when we were taught how to pray the Apostles’ Creed. An encounter not based on how experts in the bible pronounce who Jesus is. Rather, an encounter base on experience of faith that will keep us on holding on to Him even in the midst of trials and difficulties.

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