Aug 10, 2017
Matthew 16:13-20, The Rock for ages
The events in this passage lay the foundations for the Catholic Church. In it, Jesus asked his disciples who people said he was. Then he asked them, "Who do you say that I am?" It was a question about Jesus' identity, not his teaching or his popularity. At its heart, Catholicism centers around who Jesus is.
Simon Peter answered for the group and identified Jesus as the Son of God, the Messiah. Jesus pointed out that it was only by divine inspiration that Peter could know this. ("Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father" Matthew 16:17.)
Jesus changed Simon's name to "Peter," meaning "rock." By this change, Jesus signaled he was building his Church on a rock-solid foundation - on the confession of Peter about Jesus' divinity. This truth has been handed down through the ages, from the Apostles to the bishops to us. The Holy Spirit would lead Peter - and his successors, the popes - to speak and act in truth as the head of the Church.