Our Gospel reading from Mathew today (16:13-20) is a familiar one. Peter gets it right and proclaims Jesus as; “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus knows this proclamation is due to the Father’s revealed truth coming from the mouth of Peter. Jesus then states that Peter will be the rock upon which He will build His Church. The Church became present a1er the paschal mystery of Jesus, but Jesus had instituted it and given it a leader knowing well what was to transpire.
The fledgling Church Peter and the Apostles started was much different from the Church today. Here we are, so many years later still proclaiming Jesus as Savior. Here we are caring for souls around the world. Here we are feeding and caring for countless people here and around the world. We have much to be proud of and much more work to do!
One thing that makes us different from other faiths and Christian denominations are the structure of our Church. We continue to have one main head, our Holy Father, who serves the Church guided by the Holy Spirit. Peter had a huge task at hand; to build the followers of Jesus into a Church. Anyone who has ever led others knows how difficult it can be. Every one of us has an opinion and an idea of how things should be run. Peter faced this as well as difficulties with the ruling power of the Romans.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis faces some of the same difficulties today. Each of us may voice our opinion of how things should be run in the Church. Pope Francis and all of us live in a world that seems more reluctant to the idea of religion, of One True God, and of religious influence in society and politics. But don’t give up hope. This is not the first time in our history we have faced difficulties! As Jesus states; “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it,” referring to His Church. We must continue to worship, to trust that God will take care of us in difficult times, believe that things can get better and pray.
Pray for Pope Francis and all our leaders. Our prayer helps empower them to do what is holy. Pray for Fr. Joseph, that he returns refreshed and ready to lead us.