Mt 16: 13-20
We all want to belong. We all want to be part of a group. The give and take of human interaction from the very moment we come in to this world to the moment we leave it, defines our existence and our self-image.
Teenagers are groupies to the point that often the last person they would want to be seen with would be their parents. Its time they spread their wings and establish their independence. Most often, once they cross the line into early adulthood, their parents are welcomed back into their world. But, the bottom line is that we humans are social animals and we are meant to be together.
The famous response comes from Peter: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God! It was not the first time that these disciples recognized Jesus for who he was. Remember the calming of the sea (Mt 14: 22-33) in which these men declared, Truly, you are the Son of God. But Peters profession went even farther.
So our Catholic ears hear, Pope Peter I in Jesus words the establishment of what we have come to know as the Vicar of Christ on earth in the Bishop of Rome. But more is implied than just a pivotal position here. As crucial as the Petrine Office is to our Catholic identity and unity, the mission of the Church is established through this recognition by Peter and with him, the other Apostles.
That mission is carried on not just by the Pope, Bishops, us priests and religious. The mission of the Church is the mission of each disciple who has come to recognize Jesus as the Son of the living God.
Jesus promised us this: . . . upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it . . . In word and service to others we proclaim that Christ is God come among us in love and truth.
Maybe ponder one or two ways you can be Christ to others this week: to a loved one or to a stranger.