Sunday 27 August 2017
Week I Psalter. 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Isaiah 22:19-23. Psalm 137(138):1-3, 6, 8. Romans 11:33-36. Matthew 16:13-20.
Lord, your love is eternal; do not forsake the work of your hands — Psalm 137(138):1-3, 6, 8.
‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah!’
We can distinguish three moments in Jesus appointing a vicar for himself on earth. When Peter makes his confession of faith, Jesus commends Peter, and appoints him 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.’ 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.