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AUGUST 5. Ord Time B. Wk 18. Thu. Mt. 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 he is 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, ‘You are the Christ,’ he said, ‘the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood 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 Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.’ Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to tell anyone he was the Christ


From that time 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, to be put to death and to be raised up on the third day. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with 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 the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’


Today’s reading begins with an interesting question, namely: ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is? In asking this question Jesus is highlighting the fact he was born of a woman and so was one of “the people” himself; - which is why he was asking the question. Did anybody see him as divine, and if not, what were they thinking?


The disciples were able to answer with the people’s views when they said; - ‘Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets’; - which meant nobody saw Jesus as “The Son of God!” So then Jesus asks the same question of the disciples themselves; - “Who do you say I am?”


Peter then answered on behalf of the disciples: “You are the Christ; - the Son of the living God,” which indicated at least this small group of followers had understood Christ was the Son of God; - a prerequisite for the formation of the Church! Christ would have been happy with this reply, as it meant he had something to build on.


So, he immediately took the first steps for the establishment of the Church saying to Peter “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.”


Almost immediately on establishing the Church, with Peter at its head, Christ then began; - for the first time; - to indicate what lay ahead for this small group of believers; - “He made it clear to his disciples he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, be put to death; - and be raised on the third day!’


This was a clear statement subsequent events would demonstrate they had not understood; - but Christ certainly spelt out how his Church was to be founded; - on a small group of believers who had faith in his divinity; - but who would have to endure sufferings and disappointments as a result of his coming Passion and Death; - that would severely test their newfound faith!


Gospel Acclamation Mt16:18


Alleluia, alleluia!

You are Peter, the rock on which I will build my Church:

the gates of hell will not hold out against it.

Alleluia!




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