Matthew 16  13 – 20

When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.”

He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.

“And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.”

He swore the disciples to secrecy. He made them promise they would tell no one that he was the Messiah

Gospel Reflection

The question – and they are thrown – their replies incredulous. Simon gets the nudge from the Holy Spirit; he may be wrong but he has already played the fool out of love for Jesus more than once. Love enables him to imagine more that the evidence allows; only just but enough.

Enough is more than enough as Jesus pours authority upon him – you see this city built on a great rock? It is nothing – nothing compared to you – because you have heard the Father’s voice in your heart.

Simon, whose name means ‘listening’, has heard and has believed. Now Simon Peter has taken the first step; has become the first stone, the foundation of believers – those who believe not because they see, not because they have been told to, not because it makes sense but because they love foolishly and undeniably. This is the glimmer of faith that Jesus has been waiting for; Simon Peter has taken the leap, made the connection, entered into a relationship not only with his friend and brother but with the Father and with the Holy Spirit. Now faith requires more ‘Peter’s’.