On this rock I will build my church

When Jesus asked his disciples who people said he was, they named three great figures from Israel’s history: John the Baptist, Elijah and Jeremiah. Each was a prophet who bravely spoke the Word of God. The disciples could see that Jesus too was a fearless prophet. But Jesus is more than that. When he asked the disciples, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ it was Simon who gave the right answer, revealed to him by God. He recognised Jesus as the Christ and the Son of God. 

Jesus gave Simon a new name – Peter, the Rock – and made him the leader of the Church. Peter was given authority ‘to bind and loose’ – to forgive sins and to govern the People of God. Jesus chose Peter as the rock on which to build the Church, even though he knew that Peter was hotheaded and sometimes unreliable. 

God has a call for each one of us. Peter was not perfect, but Jesus chose him as leader of God’s Church. In the Church, to be a leader is to be a servant. Pope Francis has called us to become a synodal Church where we listen to one another and listen to God. Every member of the Church is called by Christ, and each one of us has our own part to play in God’s plan for the world.

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