THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
Aug 26, 2017
As we get older, you begin to forget certain things. Where did I put my eyeglasses? Where did I put my cell phone and my watch? In my case, I forgot my keys in the sacristy after the Sunday Mass and I couldn’t get into the office for my bag and drive my car to the rectory for lunch. And so, I have to look for Nick to open up and get my keys.
The Gospel today uses the image of the key to express an important component of our Catholic faith. Jesus says to Peter: “I will give you the KEYS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt. 16:19). First, it tells about the important role of Peter in the life of the early Christian community. Peter embodies weaknesses – lack of faith, for instance. But Peter also embodies the exactness and accuracy of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mt.16:16). Jesus entrusted Peter with a mission not because he was perfect but because he was willing to learn each time how to return to the source of grace. In the end, he was to be the primary shepherd of the flock of Christ.
As Catholics, we believe that the office of Peter is still with us through the Holy Father, the Pope. The popes are the successors of Peter and the sign of unity of the Church. In these days, the World Youth Day is a living expression of the way the Holy Father can call the young people together for Jesus. Every Papal visit also makes a potential impact on the faith of people everywhere.
Second, the Sunday Gospel illustrates the meaning of the Key. A key symbolizes power. He who holds the key controls the entry and exit of people and controls the access to a place that may be restricted to others. Peter, therefore has power; a divine power to bind and to loose. This power is not that of domination or oppression. It is a power to serve by inviting and leading people to the right door that opens up to Christ. A key also symbolizes responsibility. He who has the key must be vigilant at all times. He cannot lose the key or neglect it. He must keep the key for the sake of others. So just imagine the sacrifices of the Holy Father for the Church as he confronts one trial after another. St. John Paul II not only guided the Church but also suffered personally for the Body of Christ.
In a special way, we can say that the key is also given to each one of us. At Baptism, Jesus gave us the key to heaven. We have become heirs of God’s kingdom. We have the key because we are now God’s children. Peter has been an inspiring figure in the early community and even today in our Catholic Church. Can you also be like him, eagerly keeping the key of salvation and sharing this discovery with others with whom we share our lives?
A JOKE FROM ST. JOE: Q? Why did Adam choose Eve to be his wife? NO CHOICE.
In this last week of August, we celebrate the feast of St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, on the 28th, and the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist on the 29th. The Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion Mass and the First Saturday Mass also fall in this week; as we do them on the 1st and 2nd day of September. This is all for now, watch for the next bulletin. God Bless!
Your Priest-Servant and Parochial Administrator,