Today is one of those days when I wish this could be a 60 minute reflection, instead of 60 seconds. The readings are soooo rich! In the Gospel, we see the famous exchange between Jesus and Peter from Matthew 16.
“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church…I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.” This notion of giving the keys to the Kingdom isn’t something new that Jesus just thought up. And his hearers would have known this. Look at the first reading from Isaiah 22. We see the king giving the keys to the kingdom to the Master of the Palace. In essence, he was giving the Master of the Palace his authority in his absence. So Jesus, in giving the keys to Peter, was establishing a new office in the perfection of the Davidic Kingdom.
Jesus also gives Peter the power to bind and loose. This connotes the ability to teach authoritatively. As Catholics, we must know the importance and meaning of these verses. We believe that Jesus established the office of a visible head of His visible Church. Not only a sign of authority, it was and remains a sign of unity for the whole Church. This is the scriptural basis of our beliefs. I encourage you to read and learn more!
Father, we thank you for giving the keys to the Kingdom to St. Peter and his successors, as a sign of the Church’s unity. May we be always faithful to His Church, with the Vicar of Christ to lead us. Amen.