Reflection on Scripture Twenty-first Sunday Gospel A Who do you say I am?

By 10:25 AM

 Twenty-first Sunday Gospel A

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi 

· It is called Caesarea Philippi to distinguish it from the town of Caesrea in Samaria. The former town was originally called Paneas It was rebuilt by Philip, a son of Herod the Great. It is situated about twenty miles north of the Sea of Galilee at the base of Mt. Hermon. When it was rebuilt by the tetrarch Philip he changed the name to Caesarea Philippi in honor of the Emperor Caesar Augustus and in honor of himself.

and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  

· Notice Jesus equates himself with the title of Son of Man. This title is found in the prophet Daniel.

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 

· In Mt 14:2 Herod had wrongly identified Jesus as Elijah, because of his prophetic and charismatic personality.

· Others thought he was Elijah who was believed to return before the Messiah.

· Some identified Jesus with the great prophets of old because of his message.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 

· This is the same question Jesus asks each of us. The answer to this question determines our relationship with Jesus.

 Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  

· As we will see, it is very significant that Peter was the one who spoke up. For he has been chosen  by God to be the head of the Church to be established by Jesus.

· To say that Jesus is the Christ means that he is the Messiah. To say that he is the Son of the Living God indicates Jesus’ unique relationship to God in the eyes of Peter.

· As we will see, to say the right words is not enough. We must also embrace the full meaning of what we profess.  Peter gave the right answer but his understanding of what it meant for Jesus to be Messiah was not accurate.

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.  

· Jesus acknowledges that Peter’s answer came through the revelation of God and not through human reasoning. To proclaim Jesus as Messiah was a bold move on Peter’s part.

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.  

· For Peter’s faith proclamation—even though he didn’t understand the full impact—Jesus rewards him with the new position of the head of the Church the Messiah would establish.

· The powers of darkness will attempt to destroy it, but will be unable, because it is established by the God/Man and not just by a human being alone.

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.” 

· The keys signify the authority that Peter is given by Jesus. See Is 22:15:25.

Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

· This passage is foundational to our understanding as Catholics to the primacy of Peter as the Vicar of Christ on earth as well as the authority given to Peter and his successors in governing the Church.

· What does it mean for Jesus to be the Messiah in your life?

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