It is an error to believe that Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and to all men, but rather that He inaugurated a religious movement adapted, or to be adapted, to different times and different places. - Pope St. Pius X: (1835 – 1914: was Pope from 4 August 1903 to his death in 1914. He was canonized in 1954)
Gospel Text: (MT 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.”
How is it that Peter knows that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God? I would suggest that it flowed from Peter’s observation of Jesus, from his listening to the teachings of Jesus, from his choosing to live his life in imitation of Jesus over these several years of discipleship. In all of this, Peter’s mind and heart had been tilled and fertilized by the Holy Spirit preparing him for that moment when it would all make sense – You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. It was living the life of a disciple that made this all possible.
This is the seed bed of Peter’s exhortation to lead by example rather than commands. It is the living of the faith life that speaks most eloquently of the Gospel of Jesus. If we live with each other and we deal with the problems of our lives reflecting the mind and heart of the Lord Jesus, then we faithfully provide direction, encouragement and fertile ground for the expansion of the Kingdom in this world.