August 27, 2017
Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome is, like most churches, in the form of a cross. At the meeting place of the main aisle and the two arms of the cross is the Papal Altar. Standing around the altar, if you look up, you see the largest dome in the world, which was designed and installed by Michelangelo. Around the base of the dome, in huge letters, is written: “TU ES PETRUS ET SUPER HANC PETRUM AEDIFICABO ECCLESIAM MEUM ET TIBI DABO CLAVES REGNI CAELORUM.” In English this is, “You are Peter, and upon this Rock, I will build my Church, and to you I will give the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.”
The Gospel for this Sunday is the story of Peter’s Confession of Faith (“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”) and the institution of the papacy, as Jesus gives to Peter and to his successors the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. In giving the keys to Peter, Jesus is giving Peter his own authority to bind and unbind. Peter and his successors, the popes, will be the representatives, the Vicars of Christ, who will rule and teach and act in Christ’s name, and with Christ’s authority.
This Petrine ministry is the rock on which Christ has built his Church and is Christ’s guarantee that the forces of evil and hatred will never be victorious over the Church.
Let us pray for Pope Francis, as he faithfully carries out this incredible responsibility that has been placed upon his shoulders. May he have the love and the support of the people of God throughout the world.
Fr. Mike Comer