“If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.” – St Augustine
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 we celebrate the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, who were key leaders in founding in the early Church.
The Church is divinely established as apostolic. It is founded on the apostles, including Peter and Paul (Eph 2:20). The Church is episcopal. It is governed by the bishops, the successors of the apostles. The Church is papal. It is governed by the pope, the successor of St. Peter. Therefore, the Church is hierarchical and visible. The Church is also catholic, that is, universal, and therefore missionary.
It is critical to know what Jesus means by the Church, for Jesus calls us to love the Church and to lay down our lives for it, as He did (Eph 5:25). We must be sure we are giving our lives for His Church and not for what we think is His Church.
Is your church the Church of Peter and Paul? Is your church the Church of Christ?