Jesus’ Plan, The Church!
As you might remember, two Christmases ago you were given a gift from the Men of St. Joseph, Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly. Many were graced by the book including myself.
So much so that the parish is using Kelly’s four pillars of becoming a dynamic catholic, Prayer, Study, Generosity and Evangelization. For more than a year, we have been praying. One example is the prayer of the month published in our bulletin and on our website.
This year’s pillar is Study. And I propose to all my counsels, Parish, Finance, Stewardship and School Advisory Board that we Study a book “Rebuilt”, which is a critical look at the parish. In my Study, I found the following explanation of today’s gospel.
At one point in his public ministry, Jesus takes his twelve disciples on a road trip. It’s one of the biggest journeys of his adult life and probably further than any of the disciples would have ventured on their own. They go to an unlikely destination: Caesarea Philippi, which is sort of the ancient Las Vegas…on steroids. The main attraction of this place was a temple located in front of an enormous cave that descended into a measureless abyss…a bottomless pit. The grotto was dedicated to the Greek god Pan. The cult worship this particular god was wild and even savage. Locals called the place the gates of Hades, with good reason.
Ironically this is also the place of the Headwater of the River Jordon. Jesus takes the disciples there, not to preach or teach, not to heal anyone, and not to convert a single soul. He takes the apostles there to ask them two questions. “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
The disciples have no shortage of answers…in other words, there’s a lot of confusion out there about who he is. Then Jesus asks the question he is really interested in: “But who do you say that I am?”
Peter replies, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. This is the first time that any of them gets it right. It’s a BIG MOMENT. It is one of the biggest announcements of all time, like God’s announcement to Abraham that this but one God; his announcement to Moses that there is a law; his announcement to David that his throne would last forever; or his announcement to Mary that he is sending his Son.
It is a turning point not only for the disciples but for the entire Gospel of Matthew.
I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.
We have heard this so many times that we fail to hear.
If Jesus was going to name the thing that he intends to build, it is reasonable to assume that he would have called it by a traditional name, like ‘synogogue’ or ‘temple’. But that is not what Matthew tells us he said. Matthew uses a word that is not previously found in the New Testament.
I will build my CHURCH!
Jesus says, “I will build my CHURCH and the gates of the netherworld or HADES shall not prevail against it.”
Jesus says to the disciples, this is the biggest news of all, the biggest thing going forward, this is the plan, this is the whole plan. For the rest of history, this is what God is going to be doing and nothing and nobody, not even the Gates of Hades (which of course they just happen to be standing in front of) will stop this plan.
It is going to keep growing and growing, and going and going.
So the Church is not just a part of the plan…It is the whole plan!
And like it or not, with all of its imperfections, it all we got! And is that the way it is with people, after all the Church, God’s ultimate plan, is about a people, a body and assembly.
The twelve made up the foundation of the church, and boy were they imperfect! They often got it wrong and were sinners. But they were the ones Jesus chose to be Church.
We sometimes speak of the imperfections of the church, and will dwell on all that is wrong with its members. And yes the Church is sometimes “filled with hypocrites” (others word not mine).
My answer is: Yes, the church is filled with hypocrites and sinners, but at least we are hypocrites and sinners who acknowledge our sins and know who is the redeemer.
You see when Jesus puts his question to Peter, and to us, he isn’t asking about public opinion. He is invited a confession of faith from his disciples. That kind of faith results in a lifetime of commitment and changed life.
Jesus reminds us again this day, that he will build his “Church”, a people on the Rock of Peter’s Faith. And God know best!
We have today a church of more than 1 billion people and growing.
The Rock of Faith is Peter and the Apostle, The Cornerstone is Jesus, and the walls that keep the Church is the faith that each of us has in the Messiah the Christ.
Where would you be without the Church? Where would society be without the light of Faith?
Let us give praise for Jesus and the plan of His Church.
The Story of the Plan is taken from, tools for rebuilding, Michael White and Tome Corcoran authors of Rebuilt