Jesus is recognized by Peter as the Son of God. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by pursuing the Virtue of Obedience so he can always remain faithful to Christ’s Holy Catholic Church and by building the Virtue of Prudence so he can regularly receive the Sacrament of Penance. 

Liturgy

18th Week in Ordinary time – Thursday – Mt 16:13-23

Commentary

Jesus leads the Apostles on a grueling walk, some 30 miles north to the temple at Caesarea Philippi, where the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus was falsely worshiped as the “son of God.” Here, Jesus reveals He is the true Son of God and establishes Peter as the exclusive Patriarch of His unconquerable Holy Catholic Church.  

There was much speculation as to the identity of Christ and Jesus uses the confusion to reveal Himself to the Apostles. He asks: “Who do people say the Son of Man (a title associated with the Messiah Jesus uses for Himself) is?” They respond, confirming most thought Jesus was a great prophet who had returned, John the Baptist (as Herod presumed), Elijah or Jeremiah. Jesus goes from the general to the specific to force the Apostles to think for themselves: “But who do you say that I am?”; His identity had been a burning question for the Apostles (Mt 8:27).  

Simon Peter, moved by the Father through the Spirit, denies the “godship” of Emperor Augustus and proclaims, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus confirms His identity when He blesses Simon and renames him “Peter”, meaning “Rock.” The renaming of Simon reveals Peter’s unique role in God’s plan as the leader of Jesus’ Holy Catholic Church. Jesus confirms Peter’s headship and that Satan will not prevail against His Church, let alone the schemes of mere mortal men. Confirming Peter’s authority, Jesus gives Peter, and his successor popes, the supernatural power to bind and loose on Earth and in Heaven; this is the basis for the forgiveness of sins by Catholic priests in the Sacrament of Penance. 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Be awed by the Divine Prudence of Jesus as He orchestrates the grandness of the Incarnation: with Divine Knowledge, He accurately assesses a myriad of circumstances (political, religious, the timing of Feast Days, the readiness of the Apostles, etc.) during the Incarnation; He puts a coordinated plan in place that allows His Apostles to gradually understand His identity in stages; He strictly charges them to not reveal His identity, waiting for His Divine Plan to play out at the Passover Feast. 

Be obedient to Christ’s Holy Catholic Church

Realize: In His Divine Wisdom, Jesus, Divine King, deliberately establishes a patriarchy, choosing Peter and his successors as the exclusive male leaders of His Holy Catholic Church. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Hierarchical Constitution of the Church (CCC 100, 552, 871-896, 937-939, 1463, 2034).

Pray: Jesus, Divine King, help me build the Virtue of Obedience (a part of Justice) so I never rebel against You and always submit to the authority of Your Holy Catholic Church.

Be prudent and regularly receive the Sacrament of Penance

Realize: Many Catholic men are in a state of mortal sin for they have willingly failed to keep the minimal requirement to receive the Sacrament of Penance at least once a year (a precept of the Church – CCC 2042). Rather than a burden, realize the great privilege and blessing Jesus has granted to every Catholic man to be forgiven by Him in the Sacrament of Penance; being forgiven helps a man avoid Hell, reconciles a man with God, brings relief, happiness and peace and the confidence to again strive for holiness.

Believe: Reflect upon the Sacrament of Penance (CCC 553, 1440-1449).

Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Prudence, help me build the Virtue of Prudence so I recognize the blessing and honor of being able to receive Your forgiveness, prudently examine my conscience, recognize my sins, make a good confession and receive Your forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.