Gospel: Mt 16:13-19
After that, Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi. He asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They said, “For some of them, you are John the Baptist; for others Elijah, or Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
Jesus asked them, “But you, who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “It is well for you, Simon Barjona, for it is not flesh or blood that has revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.
And now I say to you: You are Peter; and on this Rock I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven.”
One of the great differences between Christians and Muslims is that Islam is essentially a “religion of the book,” as it calls itself, since all its basic tenets are contained in the Koran. Some Protestants also claim that Christianity is a “religion of the book” because, according to them, it is founded only on the Bible (“Scriptura sola”). But these Protestants forget that Jesus never wrote anything, and certainly not a book. What he did was choose disciples whom he taught for three years, imparting to them his vision of life. Then he sent them into the world to communicate this vision. Among these disciples two stand out for their complete devotion to him and their utter dedication to the mission of spreading Jesus’ Good News—Peter and Paul, whom we celebrate today.
This means that Christianity is much more a “religion of people” than a “religion of the book.” It is people that Jesus sends forth to “make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). It is people who are imprisoned for him and die for him. And all of us are part of this human chain connecting us with the apostles and Jesus Christ. Let us be proud of our ancestors in the faith.
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