Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church…
21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
My brothers and sisters, the essence of the Church and the mission of the Church are often described in biblical images such as the house of God, the people of God, and the Body of Christ. In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of Peter as the rock upon which He will build His Church. Each institution and structure needs a firm foundation in order to last. This includes the Church, which is built on the foundation of the Apostles, particularly Peter. Christ is the cornerstone of the Church, and the Apostles are its foundation.
Why are the Apostles the foundation of the Church? Because Jesus chose them in a special way to know the truth and to share the good news with all peoples. In today’s Gospel, we hear how God gave Peter a special insight to acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. In response, Jesus said “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 nether world shall not prevail against it.” Peter acknowledged the truth about Jesus and thus became the guardian of the Image of Christ, meaning of the Church.
The successor of Peter—every Pope—including Pope Francis, is the successor of Peter. The bishops, including Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, are the successors of the Apostles. And together, they are the foundation upon which the present Church is being built. This is why we pray in a special way in the intention of the Holy Father and the bishop of our diocese during each Mass. We ask God to confirm these men in their faith, in love, and in hope because the Holy Father and the bishops are here to serve us and, in turn, to confirm us in our faith. We also pray this prayer because, like us, the Holy Father and the bishops are also human; they too have their own weaknesses and sins, and they need our support to faithfully continue to serve us and to support us in our faith.
I think that each of you would agree that we all need to be supported in our faith. Therefore, I would like to invite each of you to pray in a special way for the Holy Father and the bishops—the foundation of the Church—that God may continue to give them the strength and insight to be faithful to Christ and His Teachings to the very end. Let us pray that the Holy Father and the bishops will continue to show us the way of truth and help us to accept the teachings of Christ—the teachings of the Church—and to follow these teachings without any compromises. For, my brothers and sisters, when we follow the teachings of the Church out of love and conviction, then we will experience a deep peace that will help us continue along our journey of faith and ultimately become saints.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Arthur Marat
Readings for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time: Lectionary 121