Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Thursday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time – Year B

Thursday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 410

1st Reading – JER 31:31-34

The days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers:
the day I took them by the hand
to lead them forth from the land of Egypt;
for they broke my covenant,
and I had to show myself their master, says the LORD.
But this is the covenant that I will make
with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD.
I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts;
I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
No longer will they have need to teach their friends and relatives
how to know the LORD.
All, from least to greatest, shall know me, says the LORD,
for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 51:12-13, 14-15, 18-19

R. (12a) Create a clean heart in me, O God.
A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me.
Cast me not out from your presence,
and your Holy Spirit take not from me.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
and a willing spirit sustain in me.
I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners shall return to you.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.
For you are not pleased with sacrifices;
should I offer a burnt offering, you would not accept it.
My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;
a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn.
R. Create a clean heart in me, O God.

Alleluia – MT 16:18

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 16:13-23

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 Christ, 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 Christ.

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
He turned and said to Peter,
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

The Keys of the Kingdom

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr

“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.” Matthew 16:18-19

So was Jesus just being complementary to Peter, trying to build up his ego? Was He just thanking Peter for acknowledging who He really is? Or was Jesus doing something more? Was He making Peter a promise that would one day come to fulfillment? Certainly it was the latter of these. Jesus was telling Peter that he would become the rock foundation of the Church and that Peter would enjoy a unique spiritual power of the Keys of Heaven. Whoa! What an incredible gift that was!

Jesus says, “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven…” This is no small gift to have. We should take this as a literal commitment from Jesus to Peter. So, when Jesus did found His Church, when He did “breathe” on the Apostles after His Resurrection, He also bestowed this promised gift of supreme authority within His Church to Peter – the power to bind and loose.

I’m sure that at first Peter did not fully understand this unique gift. Perhaps as the Church began, within the first few years, the other Apostles would have been reminded by the Holy Spirit that Jesus said this. Perhaps Peter in his humility would have been reminded by the Holy Spirit that Jesus said this. And as time went on there should be no doubt that Peter began to embrace and own this unique gift of supreme authority. We see the first clear exercise of this authority in Acts 15, at the Council of Jerusalem, when there was a disagreement about circumcision. After much debate, Peter stood up and spoke with authority. From there, others followed and we see that the question they were debating was clarified and settled.

From that time on, the Apostles continued their work of teaching, shepherding and sanctifying. Peter eventually went to Rome to preach and to become the first bishop there. It is in Rome that he died and it was every successor of the Apostle Peter, in Rome, who took on this unique gift of the supreme authority within the Church. Certainly Jesus did not intend this gift of supreme authority to last only as long as Peter lived. That’s why we see this authority passed on to all his successors who are the bishops of Rome. And that’s why we call our Church the Roman Catholic Church. Interestingly, if Peter would have gone to Malta, or Jerusalem, or Asia we would today most likely have the Malta, or Jerusalem, or Asian Catholic Church instead. So the Church is Roman primarily because that’s where Peter went and, therefore, that’s where the supreme authority lies.

Over the centuries we have come to understand this unique gift of supreme authority and have defined it more clearly. It means that St. Peter, and all his successors, enjoy full and immediate authority to teach definitively on faith and morals and to govern, or shepherd, according to the mind and will of Christ. So if the pope says something is true regarding faith or morals then, quite frankly, it is true. And if he makes a decision on the governance of the Church then, quite simply, that’s what God wants done. It’s as simple as that.

This gift of supreme authority, in regard to teaching on faith and morals, is called “infallibility.” It’s used in various ways. The most powerful way it’s used is when the pope speaks “ex cathedra” or, “from the chair.” This means symbolically from the chair of Peter. In this case he teaches what’s called a “dogma” of the faith. Every dogma is true and certain and we are bound in faith to believe. For example, in 1950 the pope spoke “ex cathedra” about the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. With that declaration we are bound in conscience to believe. Mary truly was taken body and soul into Heaven upon the completion of her earthly life. Period!

Of course this power does not apply to those things that have nothing to do with faith and morals. So if the pope says he believes that Argentina will win the next World Cup, then he is only hoping, and I wouldn’t go bet all your money on them. He has no special grace to teach things of that nature. But wouldn’t it be fun if he did!

Lord, I thank You for the gift of Your glorious Catholic Church! I pray that I may always be faithful to all that You reveal through Your Church and I pray that the leaders of Your Church, especially the pope, will always seek to grow daily in holiness of life. Jesus, I trust in You.

Our Audio Catholic Daily Readings are sourced from USCCB 

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About Laban Thua 1020 Articles
I am a Commissioned Liturgy Minister and also a Lector at Assumption of Mary Catholic Church. Am also a Commissioned Catholic Men Association (CMA), Member and a Lover of the Catholic Church and its teachings. My passion is disseminating the Catholic Daily Readings and Reflections, Bible Verse of the Day, Catholic Quote of the Day and Catholic Saint of the Day Information every day to all Catholic Faithfuls throughout the world.