February 22, 2016

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. Jonathan Cigaral)

2.22

 

To drive a car with passengers, the driver has to be attentive to what his surrounding is telling him. He cannot just be ignorant of the external factors, otherwise accident looms. He has to use his sense of sight and hearing wisely to ensure safety while driving.

By using his sense of sight, he needs to always check signs along the road for directions and safety precautions. Checking also the signs in the vehicles to make sure everything is working is important like tires, gasoline and oil levels, mirrors adjusted accordingly and others. In using his sense of hearing, on the other hand, he needs to make sure that he listens for any signal coming from other vehicles.

Listening also to his passengers is important because they might be telling something real important in terms of direction. In driving, the driver is like a leader who has to be sensitive to his surroundings to know the direction that he is going to.

In our Gospel, Jesus said to Peter “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven.” This means that Peter and his successors will have the last word about what is or what is not the faith of the Church. The recognition of this mission of Peter’s successor, however, does not mean that his word does not consider all other voices in the Church, or that his authority justifies a structure that is dictatorial.

The text does not contradict other statements of the Gospel that are equally important where the basis of the Church is a “college” of apostles, where nothing is done without a dialogue.

Peter is the “door keeper” (Mk. 13:34), but he is neither “master” nor “Father” (Mt. 23:9). His leadership is only genuine in a Church where all have the right to express themselves, where the leaders are not only to impose, but also listen and recognize.

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