Sunday 23 August 2020
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 22:19-23. Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands – Psalm 137(138):1-3, 6, 8. Romans 11:33-36. Matthew 16:13-20.
You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church
We can distinguish three moments in Jesus appointing a vicar for himself on earth.
When Peter makes his confession of faith, Jesus does two things: he commends Peter, then he makes Peter the Rock on which he will build his church. At the time of the Passion, Jesus warns Peter of his approaching denial. But he adds, ‘When you have come back, strengthen your brethren.’ The college of apostles will be dependent on Peter. Finally, after the resurrection, Jesus, having three times drawn from Peter a protestation of love, installs him in the pastoral office: ‘Feed my lambs; feed my sheep’.
It is in the context of a revelation by the Father that Jesus makes Peter the foundation rock of his church. It is in a context of human weakness sustained by the prayer of Christ that Jesus makes Peter the president of the apostolic college. It is in a context of love that Jesus installs Peter in the pastoral office. The teaching authority within the church is to be an expression first of the love of Christ and then of his flock.
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