“Who is the Son of man?” When Jesus asked this question, it was not the first time that he used the expression “Son of man”. Nevertheless, many people were apprehensive about Him. For some, the Son of man was John the Baptist; for others, he was Elias; and for others still, He was Jeremiah or one of the prophets. No one among them confessed that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. Many Jews recognized in Jesus an extraordinary man, but they didn’t confess his divinity.
This error is still relevant today. The majority of people believe in Jesus, or at least in a certain Jesus, but among them, many don’t believe that He is God. Their belief might be a path toward Faith, but it is not yet Faith and as such is useless for eternal life. For some, Jesus was a great man, maybe the greatest man in History. For others, he was just an avatar of the divinity, the same as Buddha or Krishna for example. But He was not the Son of God who came into the world to save us. They don’t recognize this truth as yet necessary for their salvation.
“But whom do you say that I am?” Now, this is the question which is asked of you. Remember, the priest asked you this question one day; the day of your baptism. “Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, who was born into this world and who suffered?” Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God Himself and your unique Savior? The answer is either yes or no. You either believe or you don’t, and the fact that you believe or not will affect your entire life and most of all your eternity. The words of Jesus are clear and final: “He that believes and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believes not shall be condemned.”
These words seem hard to hear, especially today in a world of relativism that has swept away all notion of truth in the name of reason even though truth is precisely the object of reason. Once, Jesus had asked for an act of Faith for the Eucharist. He said: “For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, abides in me, and I in him.” But reason, revolting against what it cannot understand, had cried out: “This saying is hard, and who can hear it?” Then, Our Lord had turned to the Twelve, expecting from them the right answer of Faith. This had to come from the mouth of Simon-Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known, that thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” This was the profession of Faith of Capharnaum.
Today, Jesus asks another question. “But whom do you say that I am?” Once again, the answer comes from Simon-Peter: “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.” This is the profession of Faith of Caesarea.
Peter knows that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. His knowledge comes from God, not from flesh and blood. Reason cannot discover this truth by itself. We can confess the divinity of Jesus Christ only by Faith.! “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven!” Blessed is he who believes this! Blessed is he who has Faith!
Right after his proclamation of Faith, Our Lord appointed, Simon the rock upon whom He would build His Church. Simon became Peter, which means rock in Hebrew – Kephas – and Christ promised to give him the keys of the kingdom of Heaven with the power to bind and lose. In other words, and it is not difficult to understand this, Peter was established chief and head of the Church. His ministry is mainly and essentially a pastoral ministry, which means that Peter must protect and defend his flock and lead it to the eternal pasture land. The word “pastoral” has been overused for the last past decades, to the detriment of the word “dogmatic”. It is nonsense because ‘pastoral’ and ‘dogmatic’ don’t contradict each other, but, instead, suppose each other. Peter, who is the universal pastor of the flock is also the keeper and the defender of Faith, because without Faith, the flock is lost. Dogmas are nothing other than Faith expressed in human words and an attempt to apprehend as much as we can, the mystery of God.
“Feed my sheep!” The sheep of Jesus Christ need a substantial food and the milk of a good doctrine. They are given to us by the Church, through the Sacraments and Her teaching. Peter is the head of the Church. As such Sacraments must be performed and celebrated in communion with him; and he is the guarantor of the teaching of Faith.
Let us pray to Saint Peter, chief of the Apostles, and for his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. Let us pray especially this week for our General Chapter, as well as for the General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X.
May Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles, help Peter and his task, for the highest glory of God and the good of all the faithful… and there shall be one fold and one shepherd