Thursday of the Eighteenth week in Ordinary Time

Saint Matthew 16:13-23
by | Source:
Book of Numbers 20:1-13.

The whole Israelite community arrived in the desert of Zin in the first month, and the people settled at Kadesh. It was here that Miriam died, and here that she was buried.

As the community had no water, they held a council against Moses and Aaron.

The people contended with Moses, exclaiming, "Would that we too had perished with our kinsmen in the LORD'S presence!

Why have you brought the LORD'S community into this desert where we and our livestock are dying?

Why did you lead us out of Egypt, only to bring us to this wretched place which has neither grain nor figs nor vines nor pomegranates? Here there is not even water to drink!"

But Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly to the entrance of the meeting tent, where they fell prostrate. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to them,
and the LORD said to Moses,
"Take the staff and assemble the community, you and your brother Aaron, and in their presence order the rock to yield its waters. From the rock you shall bring forth water for the community and their livestock to drink."

So Moses took the staff from its place before the LORD, as he was ordered.
He and Aaron assembled the community in front of the rock, where he said to them, "Listen to me, you rebels! Are we to bring water for you out of this rock?"
Then, raising his hand, Moses struck the rock twice with his staff, and water gushed out in abundance for the community and their livestock to drink.
But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you were not faithful to me in showing forth my sanctity before the Israelites, you shall not lead this community into the land I will give them."

These are the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites contended against the LORD, and where he revealed his sanctity among them.

Psalms 95(94):1-2.6-7.8-9.

Come, let us sing joyfully to the LORD; cry out to the rock of our salvation.
Let us greet him with a song of praise, joyfully sing out our psalms.
Enter, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the LORD who made us.
For this is our God, whose people we are, God's well-tended flock. Oh, that today you would hear his voice:

Do not harden your hearts as at Meribah, as on the day of Massah in the desert.
There your ancestors tested me; they tried me though they had seen my works.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 16:13-23.

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi 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 Messiah, 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 Messiah.

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 him 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."



Commentary of the day
Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890), priest, founder of a religious community, theologian
Sermons on Subjects of the Day, no.6, Faith and Experience , 2.4


"Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it"



This was the perplexity of believers in the old time, as we read in the Psalms and Prophets, viz. that the wicked should prosper, while God's servants seemed to fail: and so in Gospel times. Not that the Church has not this peculiar prerogative with it, which no other religious body has, that as it began with Christ's first coming, so it will never fail till He comes again.

Nevertheless, for a time, in the course of single generations, nay, I may say in every age and at all times, it seems to be failing, and its enemies to be prevailing. It is the peculiarity of the warfare between the Church and the world, that the world seems ever gaining on the Church, yet the Church is really ever gaining on the world... Kingdoms rise and fall; nations expand and contract; dynasties begin and end; princes are born and die; confederacies are made and unmade, and parties, and companies, and crafts, and guilds, and establishments, and philosophies, and sects, and heresies. They have their day, but the Church is eternal; yet in their day they seem of much account...

Much there is to try our faith at this moment, who cannot see the future, and therefore cannot see the short duration of what shows proudly and successfully now. We at this day see a number of philosophies, sects, and parties, thriving and extending, and the Church seems poor and helpless... Let us pray God to teach us: we need His teaching; we are very blind. The Apostles on one occasion said to Christ, when His words tried them, "Increase our faith" (Lk 17,5). Let us come to Him honestly: we cannot help ourselves; we do not know ourselves; we need His grace. Whatever perplexity the world gives us... let us come to Him with pure and sincere minds; imploring Him to reveal to us what we know not, to incline our hearts when they are stubborn, and to make us love and obey Him honestly while we seek.





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