"Now I begin to be a disciple. Come fire and cross and grapplings with wild beasts, the rending of my bones and body ... only let it be mine to attain Jesus Christ."-- St Ignatius of Antioch
(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."
Today is the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. Neither of them really got it initially.
St Peter fell asleep while Jesus was suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and then denied his knowledge and following of Christ three times; not exactly the most faithful friend. St. Paul was so busy persecuting Christians, God had to knock him off his horse to get his attention. Neither was a likely candidate for sainthood, but once they got it, they really got it.
The big lesson from today’s readings at the Mass is not so much what we “don’t get;” it is God’s willingness to rescue us in spite of our foul-ups. Just like God rescued St. Peter and St. Paul, he is always looking out for us and willing to rescue us so that we also may take refuge in Him.
We can do more than we have ever asked or imagined (Eph 3:20). Jesus is the Gate (Jn 10:7). Turn the keys.