In our gospel today, Matthew 16:13-19, Jesus asks a very important question of his disciples – “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answers him, “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God”. For his reply, Jesus tells Peter he will build his Church upon him, and gives Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Then Jesus says of his Church, “the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it”.
It is easy to lose hope about the Church these days. If we look at what society did to Jesus back then, there are similarities to what society is trying to do to his followers and his Church today. In a country that was founded on religious principles and freedom, we have endured years of society trying to force God out of our schools, workplaces, and communities. Laws have been passed that force Christians to do things against their religious beliefs. In the pandemic, they shut down our churches because they deem them non-essential, but we know it is really because of our commitment to protecting life from womb to tomb, the traditional family, and other Christian beliefs.
Jesus’ words about his Church enduring evil are comforting for us today. Let us remember these words when the gates of the netherworld try to prevail against our Church, and we begin to lose hope.
If Jesus asked us today, “who do you say that I am”, how would we answer?
Let us pray for a faith like Peter, a faith that Jesus can use to help build his Church.
De Colores, Deacon Kevin