As followers of Christ, we have received the grace to believe that Jesus is the Son of the living God and that He is alive! Most if not all of us grew up learning about Jesus and the Bible. We have attended Sunday masses and maybe took some CCD classes. We come to Rahway on Friday nights to praise and worship our Lord Jesus Christ. We have been blessed to have been given the opportunity to know Him more and receive the gift of faith. It is our faith that has revealed who Jesus is to us, a revelation that comes only from the heavenly Father! What responsibility does this gift carry?
Jesus then declares to Peter, “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” (Mt 16:18) And Peter thus took up his role as “rock”, the rock on which Jesus builds His church. Just like Peter, we, as people of faith, make Jesus alive in us in many ways. The more we believe and recognize that Jesus is the Son of the living God, the more we are called to yield to the Spirit, the more we are called to His work of forgiveness and reconciliation, the more we are called to keep the Father’s word.
How then can we keep the Father’s word and build His church? How then can we follow and learn from Peter’s faith and obedience to the Lord? Peter was not a highly educated man. We know that Peter was not perfect. Peter doubted and showed little faith when he was walking on water with Jesus and began to sink. Again, Peter was afraid and denied Jesus three times. He had many weaknesses, just like anyone of us. Yet after Jesus’ resurrection, Peter went on to preach and continued Jesus’ work until the end when he was crucified upside down.
As a Catholic Community, we are called to walk in the footsteps of Christ. We are called to continue to build the church of our Lord Jesus Christ just as Peter did. Jesus wants us to learn from Peter … to be fishers of men. This was Jesus’ call to the first disciples, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Mt 4:19) We have heard it so many times at the conclusion of the Mass, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” We are called. We are called to serve the Lord. We are called to keep the Father’s word, to build His church. We can go out and evangelize, witness to our friends and family that Jesus is alive in us! We can participate actively in our ministry and mission works, serve in soup kitchens, visit the sick and the lonely. We can support our parish projects and activities. As we do all these, we should ask ourselves, “Are we preparing our own grand tomb with the rock from the ground as Shebna from the first reading did? Or are we building the church with “the rock” of St. Peter?” As we follow Jesus, may we always do so for the love that He has given us first, without arrogance and pride but with all humility as Jesus did on the wood of the Cross.