You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church … For Catholics, the Gospel of this 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time is heard with reference to our Church and its leader, the Pope. Somewhat like cosmologists looking back to the big bang to discover when the universe started, this passage opens a window in time about our Church. Peter is a prominent figure in Matthew’s Gospel. This Gospel was written around 85 CE, about 25 years after Peter had died, and his memory is powerfully preserved. It would be incorrect to think of Peter as a true “Pope” this early, but he is certainly given position of primacy in this Gospel. The Greek word for Church is ekklesia, and this is one of the earliest usages of it. The ekklesia, Matthew’s community, seems to be embracing Peter as its unifying figure after Jesus’ death. Unity is mentioned in the opening prayer of Mass today. Peter does not seem to be a brilliant iconoclast like Paul — check out Peter in Acts of the Apostles. But perhaps groups do better with a “rock” kind of leader after all! Let’s pray for Pope Francis this week. May his work of unifying the Church and building bonds of unity with other Churches be blessed by the Lord in abundance.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia
So nice to be able to connect with you in this format. Thank you for your wise insights.