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Gospel for Wednesday,

February 22, 2017

Chair of Saint Peter, apostle – Feast

 

The keys of the kingdom of heaven

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to

Saint Matthew 16:13-19
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and 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.”

 

Reflection:

At an opportune time Jesus tests his disciples with a crucial question:

Who do men say that I am and who do you say that I am? He was widely recognized in Israel as a mighty man of God, even being compared with the greatest of the prophets, John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah. Peter, always quick to respond, exclaimed that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God.

  No mortal being could have revealed this to Peter; but only God.

Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father comments on Peter’s profession of faith in Jesus:

Peter did not say “you are a Christ” or “a son of God” but ” the Christ, the Son of God.” For there are many christs [meaning anointed ones] by grace, who have attained the rank of adoption [as sons], but [there is] only one who is by nature the Son of God. Thus, using the definite article, he said, the Christ, the Son of God. And in calling him Son of the living God, Peter indicates that Christ himself is life and that death has no authority over him. And even if the flesh, for a short while, was weak and died, nevertheless it rose again, since the Word, who indwelled it, could not be held under the bonds of death. (FRAGMENT 190)
Jesus plays on Peter’s name which is the same word for “rock” in both Aramaic and Greek.  To call someone a “rock” is one of the greatest of compliments. The ancient rabbis had a saying that when God saw Abraham, he exclaimed: “I have discovered a rock to found the world upon”. Through Abraham God established a nation for himself. Through faith Peter grasped who Jesus truly was. He was the first apostle to recognize Jesus as the

Anointed One (Messiah and Christ) and the only begotten Son of God. The New Testament describes the church as a spiritual house or temple with each member joined together as living stones (see 1 Peter 2:5). Faith in Jesus Christ makes us into rocks or spiritual stones.

Jesus then confers on Peter authority to govern the church that Jesus would build, a church that no powers would overcome because it is founded on the rock which is Christ himself. Epiphanius, a 6th century Scripture scholar who also translated many early church commentaries from Greek into Latin, explains the significance of Jesus handing down the “keys of the kingdom”:

For Christ is a rock which is never disturbed or worn away. Therefore Peter gladly received his name from Christ to signify the established and unshaken faith of the church.… The devil is the gateway of death who always hastens to stir up against the holy church calamities and temptations and persecutions. But the faith of the apostle, which was founded upon the rock of Christ, abides always unconquered and unshaken. And the very keys of the kingdom of the heavens have been handed down so that one whom he has bound on earth has been bound in heaven, and one whom he has set free on earth he has also set free in heaven.

The Lord Jesus offers us the gift of unshakeable faith, enduring hope, and unquenchable love – and the joyful boldness to proclaim him as the one true Savior who brings us the kingdom of God both now and forever. Who do you say he is to yourself and to your neighbor?

 

Introductory Prayer:

Lord, you know how much I need you and depend on you for everything. You know my weakness and my faults. I put all my confidence in your love and mercy in my daily actions. I trust in your power, your promise and your grace.
 
Petition:

Lord, let me acknowledge you with my words and actions.
 
1. Opinion Polls and Private Certitudes: People give all sorts of answers to the question of who Jesus is. No figure in history has provoked more comment or more debate than Jesus Christ. And it is fair to say that in every case, how we answer the question of who Christ is determines how we live our lives: the values and moral convictions we will have, the hope we have for the life to come, the charity and service we live now in our daily lives. All of this is inspired by the stance we take on the person of Jesus. “Who do you say that I am?” is a question that necessarily involves a commitment on our part. The answer to this question requires a change in our attitudes and behavior.
 
2. The Life-changing Moment: For Peter, this was a moment of true openness to the grace of the Holy Spirit. He grasped in a moment that Christ was no mere prophet or enlightened teacher of moral truths, but something much more. He was the Christ, that is, the Savior. And not only Messiah, he was the Son of the Living God—Jesus was equal to God in all things. This profession of faith would change Peter’s life from that moment on. In the Creed, we profess the same faith as Peter did. Every time we receive the Eucharist, we join our response to that of Peter: We believe you are the Son of God, and there is no salvation by any other name. What changes does this faith require of me? Can I continue to be the same as before?
 
3. A New Name and a New Mission: Peter’s profession of faith was no simple intellectual response to a question. It was the taking of a position, a definitive stance before God and before the world. Peter embraced the truth about Christ, and in return, Christ entrusted him with the care of the Church. He would be “Rock,” the foundation of his Church, and Christ offered him the guarantee that the Church would persevere forever. When we profess our faith, Christ gives us a task also. We are made “apostles” and sent out as “ambassadors of Christ” to the world. Our stance before this truth has consequences: We must be consistent with our faith each day.
 
Conversation with Christ:

Lord, teach me not only to acknowledge you with my mind, but to embrace the truth that you are the Son of the Living God with all my life, words, and actions. Let the conviction I have become a way of life, so that I can give witness to you before all men.
 
Resolution:

I will examine my life and evaluate what sort of witness I give to my faith that Christ is the Son of the Living God.

 

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I profess and believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God. You are my Lord and my Savior. Make my faith strong like Peter’s and give me boldness to speak of you to others that they may come to know you personally as Lord and Savior and grow in the knowledge of your great love.”

Evangelio del miércoles,

22 de febrero, 2017

Fiesta de la cátedra del apóstol san Pedro

 

¿Quién dice la gente que soy yo?

Del santo Evangelio según

San Mateo 16, 13-19
Al llegar a la región de Cesarea de Filipo, Jesús preguntó a sus discípulos: «¿Qué dice la gente sobre el Hijo del hombre? ¿Quién dicen que es?». Ellos le respondieron: «Unos dicen que es Juan el Bautista; otros, Elías; y otros, Jeremías o alguno de los profetas». «Y ustedes, les preguntó, ¿quién dicen que soy?». Tomando la palabra, Simón Pedro respondió: «Tú eres el Mesías, el Hijo de Dios vivo». Y Jesús le dijo: «Feliz de ti, Simón, hijo de Jonás, porque esto no te lo ha revelado ni la carne ni la sangre, sino mi Padre que está en el cielo. Y yo te digo: Tú eres Pedro, y sobre esta piedra edificaré mi Iglesia, y el poder de la Muerte no prevalecerá contra ella. Yo te daré las llaves del Reino de los Cielos. Todo lo que ates en la tierra, quedará atado en el cielo, y todo lo que desates en la tierra, quedará desatado en el cielo». Entonces ordenó severamente a sus discípulos que no dijeran a nadie que él era el Mesías.

Palabra del Señor
 
Oración introductoria
Gracias Señor por permitirme el regalo de un día más. No sé que es lo que me tienes reservado para mi futuro sólo sé que quiero ofrecerte mi presente limitado, pero entusiasmado y sediento de conocerte para mejor amarte.
 
Petición
Espíritu Santo recibe mis manos abiertas para pedirte que mi confesión de amor por Dios no sea sólo con mis labios, sino que mis labios puedan confesar el deseo de vivir en conformidad con lo que conozco de Dios.
 

Meditación del Papa Francisco

En el Evangelio de hoy Jesús plantea dos preguntas a sus discípulos. La primera: “La gente, ¿quién dice que es el Hijo del hombre?” es una pregunta que demuestra en qué medida el corazón y la mirada de Jesús están abiertos a todos. A Jesús le interesa lo que piensa la gente no para complacerla, sino para poder entrar en comunicación en ella. Sin saber lo que la gente piensa, el discípulo se aísla y empieza a juzgar a la gente según sus pensamientos y convicciones.

Mantener un sano contacto con la realidad, con lo que la gente vive, con sus lágrimas y sus alegrías, es la única forma de poder ayudarle, de poder formarla y comunicar con ella. Es el único modo de hablar al corazón de las personas tocando su experiencia cotidiana: el trabajo, la familia, los problemas de salud, el tráfico, la escuela, los servicios sanitarios, etc… Es el único modo de abrir su corazón a la escucha de Dios. En realidad, cuando Dios quiso hablar con nosotros se encarnó. Los discípulos de Jesús nunca deben olvidar de dónde fueron elegidos, es decir de entre la gente, y nunca deben caer en la tentación de asumir actitudes distantes, como si lo que la gente piensa y vive no les afectase y no fuese importante para ellos. El relato Evangélico de su profesión de fe y la consiguiente misión confiada por Jesús nos muestra que la vida de Simón, pescador de Galilea ‒como la vida de cada uno de nosotros‒ se abre, florece plenamente cuando acoge de Dios la gracia de la fe. Entonces, Simón se pone en el camino ‒un camino largo y duro‒ que le llevará a salir de sí mismo, de sus seguridades humanas, sobre todo de su orgullo mezclado con valentía y con generoso altruismo. En este su camino de liberación, es decisiva la oración de Jesús: “yo he pedido por ti (Simón), para que tu fe no se apague”.

(S.S. Francisco).

 

Reflexión
Celebramos hoy, con la Iglesia universal, la fiesta de la Cátedra de San Pedro. La palabra cátedra es de origen griego y significa sede. Es el sitio ocupado por un maestro autorizado para la enseñanza.
Así, cuando se habla de una decisión “ex cátedra” del Papa, se trata de una decisión en la que el Sumo Pontífice habla como maestro universal de la Iglesia.
San Pedro, en el Evangelio de hoy, recibe una gran tarea: Jesús lo elige primer papa de la Iglesia.
Este texto evangélico nos habla del testimonio de Pedro sobre la persona de Cristo. A primera vista resulta normal que un discípulo de Cristo le testimonie como el Hijo de Dios. Ahora bien, nosotros, los nuevos apóstoles de Cristo, ¿qué hemos hecho para testimoniarlo? Escuchamos respuestas varias del hombre de nuestro tiempo que muchas veces se opone a dicho anuncio evangélico. ¿Mi respuesta personal va dirigida a Cristo? Hoy me está invitando Cristo a renovar este testimonio: en el puesto concreto donde me ha colocado y en la misión que esté desarrollando. Lo interesante no es tanto lo que yo diga de Jesús, sino lo que a partir de hoy estaré dispuesto a hacer por Él.
¡Ánimo, yo estaré con ustedes hasta el fin del mundo! Nos asegura hoy también el Maestro.

No son las palabras las que mueven los corazones, son las actitudes y las palabras las que avalan un testimonio.
 

Propósito

Renovaré hoy en cinco minutos delante de un crucifijo mi deseo de coherencia con lo que sé que es verdadero y perenne.

 

Diálogo con Cristo

Si tú fuiste capaz de infundirle a Pedro el coraje que se requiere el testimoniarte, hoy dame a mí la gracia de hacer lo mismo con la alegría que sólo viene del que se entrega a ti.

 

Despedida

Te damos gracias, Señor, por todos tus beneficios, a Ti que vives y reinas por los siglos de los siglos. Amén.

¡Cristo, Rey nuestro! ¡Venga tu Reino!

Virgen prudentísima, María, Madre de la Iglesia. Ruega por nosotros.

En el nombre del Padre y del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo. Amén.