18th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jer 31:31-34
The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers: the day I took them by the hand to lead them forth from the land of Egypt; for they broke my covenant, and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD. I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives how to know the LORD. All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD, for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.
Gospel: Mt 16:13-23
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and 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.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”
YOU ARE AN OBSTACLE TO ME: Who is Jesus Christ? In the thoughts of the people there is a general consensus that Jesus is a prophet. The disciples, especially Peter, sees Jesus as the Messiah and his declaration of Jesus as the Messiah makes him eligible to become the head of the Church. Jesus, the Messiah and the Son of God builds a Church and gives to Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Leadership in the church is not a choice made by the members but a gift coming from God. The announcement of Jesus’ suffering, death, resurrection, for the first time, might have been an unexpected shock for the disciples. The rebuke by Peter is the result of his human thinking. Jesus rebukes Peter because his thoughts are an obstacle to God’s plan. A disciple whose thoughts are not the same as of the master is an obstacle for the master.
Prayer: Lord let me not be an obstacle to your plan.
TRUST AND OBEY: The children of God are defined by faith and trust in the almighty. It is common for this faith to be tried in many ways. Sometimes God leads us to places where there is nothing to see and only by faith in Him can we survive. Emotional outbursts and reactions can only result in a contention with God and we shall not win against Him. The death of Christ did not make sense to Peter because he reasoned like a mere man; that there is nothing good in death. However, we need to know that if it is in the Will of God, it is the best thing for us. Accepting Christ means trusting fully, everything that comes from him.
A ROCK OF FAITH: In construction, the depth of the foundation depends on the height of the building. A tall building requires a deep foundation. The foundation supports the whole building. A building with strong foundation withstands the storms, the winds, earthquakes, rains and even termites. Jesus knowing the challenges that his Church will undergo established it on the rock. The rock is a symbol of durability. The Church established on the rock with Jesus Christ as its foundation stone is a place where the faithful should run to quench their thirst for the word of God and get spiritual nourishment. It is a place to seek solace, comfort and hope from the noisy and desperate world. The Catholic Church remains firm and standing tall despite the challenges she undergoes. Many of her sons and daughters suffer martyrdom trusting in the Lord. The more the challenges, the stronger she grows in her faith and increase in the number of the faithful.