【英汉主日分享】| A DISCOVERY THAT CHANGES YOUR NAME AND YOUR LIFE(21st Sunday in Ordinary Time)


21st Sunday in Ordinary Time —Year A

Fr. Jijo Kandamkulathy CMF


Gospel: Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew,

Glory to you, O Lord!

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.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.


One day, near the city of Philippi, Jesus addresses the apostles two questions, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?” and “Who do you say I am?” The circulating opinions draw him near eminent personalities: John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, the ancient prophets. 

The admiration of people of all times for Jesus cannot be denied as one of the greatest teachers for his love for the poor, his commitment to justice, peace, non-violence. But a true disciple is one who has understood that he is unique. It is at this point that Peter intervenes with the surprising answer. He speaks in the name of all and shows to have understood everything. He says to him: “You are the Christ” you are Messiah.

Peter gave a correct answer only in form; actually, he has in mind a completely distorted idea. He is convinced that Jesus is about to begin the kingdom of God on earth and thinks that he will implement this through a show of force, wonders and signs. Jesus answers Simon as he refers to him, "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church."

The name given to Simon, Cephas-Peter in Aramaic (the language spoken by Jesus), in all probability does not mean the rock, but just a building stone. The stone of which Jesus speaks is the faith professed by Peter. This faith constitutes the foundation of the Church, which keeps it united with Christ-Rock, making it indestructible and allowing it to never be overwhelmed by the forces of evil. All those who, like Peter and with Peter profess this faith, are inserted as living stones in the spiritual building designed by God. 

Peter also receives the keys and the power of binding and losing. The rabbis were convinced that they possess the "keys of the Torah" because they knew the Scriptures. Jesus takes up this image in his harsh indictment against the scribes: "A curse is on you, teachers of the Law, for you have taken the key of knowledge” (Lk 11:52). Instead of opening the door of salvation, they barred them, not revealing to the people the true face of God and his will.

 Jesus took away from them the key they had abusively appropriated. By handing over the keys to Peter, Jesus charges him to "become an example to the flock" (1 P 5:3). He entrusted him to open wide the entrance to the knowledge of Christ and his gospel. Whoever passes through the door opened by Peter with their profession of faith (this is the "holy door") has access to salvation; whoever refuses remains excluded. 

From today's Gospel, we recognize that Peter is entrusted with a particular task in the Church. He is called to feed the lambs and the sheep, and must sustain his brothers and sisters in the faith. As the Pope himself has expressly recognized, it is necessary to understand that the Pope’s ministry is to be, as Irenaeus of Lyons (second century) puts it, "the presider over charity."