Jesus confirms He is the Messiah and grants Simon-Peter headship of His Holy Catholic Church. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Obedience so he can always be obedient to Christ’s Holy Catholic Church and by growing in the Virtue of Prudence so he regularly receives the Sacrament of Penance.
21st Week in Ordinary time – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 16:13-20
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 now reveals Himself to the Apostles. He asks: “Who do people say the Son of Man (a title of the Messiah) 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 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 or depravity 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, the basis for the forgiveness of sins by Catholic priests in the Sacrament of Penance.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by Jesus, the Son of Man, and the systematic way He reveals that He is the Messiah: Person of the Trinity, Jesus prepares for the Incarnation by inspiring the greatest prophets to predict His arrival; Divine King, Jesus’ sears the truth about His Kingship into the minds of the Apostles, deliberately taking them to the place where a false worldly king is hailed as the “son of god”; Son of Man, Jesus directs the Holy Spirit to inspire Peter to proclaim that He is the Messiah; Divine Priest, Jesus, by granting Peter the power to forgive, establishes the Sacrament of Penance.
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.