21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

St. Pius X | News
25 Aug 2017

Today’s gospel shows that the primacy of Peter was not something that was invented by the Church later on.  It went right back to the beginning, yes, to the mind and will of Jesus himself.  The failures of popes throughout history do not contradict Jesus’ promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church.  Peter himself failed the Lord.  In giving authority to the man who denied him three times, Jesus wanted to show that he was establishing his Church not on human strength, but on his own love and faithfulness.  The Church’s true foundation is Christ himself.  The pope is his servant, not his substitute.  In looking at the interaction between Jesus and Peter, it is very interesting to see how Jesus dwelt with him.  How he helped him to grow into the person who was ready to lay down his life for him, and who eventually did.  The growth was a gradual thing, and there were certainly some regressions.  But this is how growth happens.  To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.  We can imagine that Peter made a very good leader.  A leader has to be aware of their own weakness.  The experience of denying Jesus rid Peter of pride and blind reliance on his own resources. At the same time it enabled him to understand the weakness of others.  Peter’s story is our story too.  Sometimes we are strong, and at other times we are weak.  Without a warm relationship with Christ, we are only on the fringes of Christianity.  We are like someone talking about love compared with someone who is in love.