In today’s Gospel Jesus affirms Simon Peter’s profession of faith in him as “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It is the fundamental profession of faith of the Church, the community of believers. In turn Jesus gives Simon the name Peter, derived from the word for “rock.” This passage is inscribed around the base of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in six-foot-high letters: TV ES PETRVS ET SVPER HANC PETRAM AEDIFICABO ECCLESIAM MEAM ET TIBI DABO CLAVES REGNI CAELORVM. Prior to Jesus’ resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, it seems that it took a while for this rock to harden. Soon Jesus would call Peter “Satan” for becoming a stumbling block as he spoke about his coming death. Peter would three times deny knowing Jesus after his arrest. In the Gospel two weeks ago Jesus called Peter “O you of little faith,” as he doubted his ability to walk on the water toward Jesus. Yet Peter’s growth in faith did mature as ours must, too. Isn’t this true for all of us? The Gospel calls us to follow Peter’s lead, to overcome doubt and to be steadfast in faith.
The “keys” entrusted to Peter represent his share in Christ’s headship of the Church, for which Peter would emerge as the visible head of the Church on earth, whom we now call the Vicar of Christ. Peter eventually presided over the Church in Rome, where he was martyred by crucifixion and buried near the Circus of Nero on the Vatican Hill. It is over this site that Saint Peter’s Basilica now stands. Since the earliest centuries the Bishop of Rome has been regarded as the successor of Saint Peter in his unique role as visible head of the Church on earth and Vicar of Christ. The 265th successor of Saint Peter as Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Christ is Pope Francis.
Threshing is planned for Saturday, September 2, at the home farm. I’m hoping for a day of nice weather. A noon potluck lunch at St. Philip Church near Rolling Ground followed by a few hours of work in the afternoon should make a nice day. The loads are under cover and the grain was dry when we loaded it. It should thresh well. All who care to come are welcome. The farm’s address is 25858 Gorman Lane, Blue River, WI 53518, on state highway 171. St. Philip Church is a mile east of the intersection of state highway 171 and US highway 61.
Pray the Rosary for all who are preparing to return to school, whether students or teachers. Pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, in his ministry to the Universal Church. Pray for those serving in the armed services from our area and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.