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I Choose You!
Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles
When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you called your apostles to lead the new church, placing St. Peter at the head and St. Paul as the apostle to the gentiles. In union with your Vicar of Christ on earth and the bishops who are in communion with him as successors of the apostles, help me to also realize my call to serve you as a witness so as to draw men and women to the knowledge of you: the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
- Our Answer: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” In light of our current culture, the way Christians answer this question is more vital than ever. Confusion surrounds the person of Christ, especially among young adults. “The verities of Catholic Church teachings sit uncomfortably with most emerging adults today, who tend to be suspicious of what they view as narrow and rigid viewpoints.” If we can’t give adequate witness to who Christ is, how will the world come to the saving grace that only Christ offers? Let us pray for an increase in faith so that our answer to today’s youth can be authentic and convincing: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
- The Rock of Our Church: “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” Part of God’s plan for us is to become a member of his family, the Church, and to have a Vicar, St. Peter and his successors, to lead us until Christ comes again in all his glory. St. Peter professed his faith in Christ as the Messiah and Jesus, in response, chose him to lead the Church. Christ never leaves us alone. He chooses us to take an important and unrepeatable role in establishing his kingdom. He has given us the guidance we need and only asks us to be faithful to his Bride and her Vicar.
- Gates of Hell: “And the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Certainly, in times of dissent and scandal, it can be challenging to believe that hell is not prevailing against the church, but we can always trust in God’s promise. And in times like this, we must realize that we are chosen by Christ to bear witness despite opposition and skepticism. We know that the Holy Spirit leads us through his Vicar, the pope, through our local church community, and through God’s personal inspirations in our life. We can call upon the Holy Spirit, especially when we feel a bit disillusioned or confused, to keep us steadfast in the truth of the Gospel.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, you entrusted the Church, your Bride, to flawed humans like me. But through your will, I am endowed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Help me to be a faithful son or daughter of the Church and bear witness by my fidelity to your plan of salvation, no matter the cost.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray in a special way for the pope and his intentions.
For Further Reflection: Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith, by Scott Hahn.
Father Todd Arsenault is from Prince Edward Island, Canada, and is a priest with the Legionaries of Christ. He spent fourteen years doing ministry in the greater Toronto area as a chaplain for Regnum Christi and couple’s groups, spiritual director, and retreat master. He is currently on a two-year sabbatical in Rome, studying for a licentiate in Spiritual Theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum.