June 29, 2008
Saint Peter and Saint Paul, apostles
Matthew 16: 13-19
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present within me. Let me feel your presence in my heart and soul. I want to live this day close to you and see everything through the prism of faith. I want to put my trust and confidence in you. You will grant me all the graces I need today. All I have to do is ask. I want to love you with all my heart, especially in charity, giving myself to all I meet today so that I can communicate your love to them. Mary, accompany me in this meditation and intercede for me, so that God will grant me what I need to be a better follower of Christ and an apostle of his Kingdom.
Petition: Lord, strengthen my faith in your Vicar on earth, the Pope.
1. Living in a World of Confusion. The people of Jesus’ time were in search of a Messiah. They were no different from people of every generation who seek salvation in the midst of life’s tempests. And in every generation, people encounter false saviors who promise health, wealth and power. These false saviors present the illusory, materialistic gods of this world, and they leave us only in confusion and feeling empty. Nothing of this world can fill our souls, which are made for God and for him alone.
2. Peter Confirms Us in the Faith. Peter recognizes in Jesus the true savior and confesses his faith. This is not just Peter’s personal faith. He speaks as God’s instrument in order to confirm his brothers in the faith. The successors of Peter continue to confirm us, present-day brothers and sisters, in the faith. Was not the Church in America – and indeed the Church throughout the world – moved to greater faith and hope during Pope Benedict’s April visit to the United States and the United Nations? His words strengthened our convictions; his gestures touched our hearts and moved us to hope for the future. In the midst of the tempests besetting the Church and our own personal lives, the Holy Father seemed to calm the waters just like Christ. He showed us by example that he is the rock on which our Church is built.
3. Who Is Jesus for Me? As a member of the Church, I know who Jesus is. I profess my faith in him each Sunday as I recite the Nicene Creed. I share my faith with the rest of the Church, and I am confirmed in this conviction by the Vicar of Christ who assures that we will always walk faithfully in step with Christ. But do I live my faith in Jesus in my daily life? Jesus is asking me, “Who do you say that I am?” He doesn’t want a theological answer; he wants a very personal one, from a friend. Has my relationship with Christ changed my life? Can I confess him not only with my lips, but also in my heart? Christ wants me to live my faith.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, you have given me the certainty of the faith. You allowed me to be a part of your Church through the inestimable gift of baptism. You have left us in the Church the figure of your vicar, the pope, who confirms us in our faith. We can never thank you enough for this great treasure. Help us to love and live faithfully his teaching.
Resolution: I will read something that Pope Benedict has written and reflect on it in prayer.
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