Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
This feast celebrates the mission of teacher and pastor which Jesus conferred on St. Peter, an ongoing mission that continues in an unbroken line down to Pope Francis. It is interesting that this feast has been celebrated in Rome and in Antioch since the early days of the Christian era. We celebrate the unity of the Church, founded upon Peter and the apostles; we renew our commitment to the Church and to the gospel of Jesus lived out in each of our homes and local communities.
Put yourself into the scene of today’s gospel text. Imagine Jesus looking intently at Peter. “Who do you say that I am,” Jesus asks. Peter responds: “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God.” Of course Jesus asks each of us this same question. How do I respond to Jesus today?
―the Jesuit prayer team
All-powerful God, you have built your Church on the rock of St. Peter’s confession of faith.
May nothing divide or weaken our unity in faith and love. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
—adapted from the Roman Missal