Memory of the Church

Deel Op


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 16,13-23

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of man is?' And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' 'But you,' he said, 'who do you say I am?' Then Simon Peter spoke up and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Jesus replied, 'Simon son of Jonah, you are a blessed man! Because it was no human agency that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.' Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to say to anyone that he was the Christ. From then onwards Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to rebuke him. 'Heaven preserve you, Lord,' he said, 'this must not happen to you.' But he turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path, because you are thinking not as God thinks but as human beings do.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus leads his disciples to Caesarea Philippi, where perhaps he intended to stay aside with his disciples. Every community needs moments like these to grow in the Lord's knowledge and love. It is in then that Jesus asks his disciples who the people say he is. Voices about Jesus varied. In Herod's court some thought he was John the Baptist back from the dead. Others thought he was Elijah, while some said he was Jeremiah, who, according to beliefs at the time, was to reclaim the ark and its sacred objects that were hidden in Mount Nebo at the time of exile. But Jesus, after hearing their answers, asks his disciples, "But who do you say that I am?" Jesus needs his disciples to be in sync with him, that they have a "common feeling" with him and that they know his true identity of Messiah sent by God. Peter speaks and answers on behalf of them all and confesses his faith in him as the Messiah. That modest group of disciples belongs to those "little ones" to whom the Father has revealed what is hidden since the foundations of the earth. And Peter, a person like all, made of "flesh and blood", in that encounter with Jesus receives a new vocation, a new task and responsibility: to be a rock, a support for the others, with the power to bind new friendships and loose the bonds of slavery that impede others from following the Gospel. Peter's response, given in the name of all the others, comforts Jesus and permits him to open his heart to them and to reveal what end he will face in Jerusalem: the Messiah is not powerful, like al think and expect, but a weak and defenceless man who will be even killed, but on the third day he will be risen from the dead. Peter does not understand what Jesus is saying and even thinks Jesus is out of his mind. Spurred on by instinct, certainly not by the faith that made him speak earlier, he tries to dissuade Jesus from his mission and journey toward Jerusalem. In truth, it is Peter who has much further to go before he understands the Lord, as we all do. And Jesus says to him: "Get behind me, Satan!" Jesus is telling him that he needs to put himself back on the path of following the Gospel.