Christ presents the keys to Peter by Nicolas Poussin

On this 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time we hear St. Peter’s confession of faith regarding the true identity of Jesus.

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16: 16)

This account of St. Matthew reveals the age old truth that the more we know God, the more we know our self. It is essential for every person to know God – and for the Christian (yes, Catholics are Christian!) this is accomplished through the person of Jesus Christ.

As if to underline how important it is to know Jesus and his true identity, he asks this very question of his disciples!

First he asks who others say that he is. Then, he gets down to the specific question which every one of us must answer: “Who do you say that I am?”

Peter gives the answer: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Then, notice what happens. Jesus tells Peter that this knowledge (faith) was given him by God the Father. Then, as a direct result of Peter coming to the deepest knowledge of Jesus, Peter receives from Jesus his truest personal identity and his vocation.

“I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.” (Matthew 16:18)

When we come to know Jesus on such an intimate and personal level, he gives us our truest identity along with the work (vocation) that we are to do as his disciples – those who have been called into company with Jesus.

Thus, we learn once again the essential necessity of being in relationship with Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God.

I invite you to watch the video of our Mass today. The Gospel proclamation and homily begin around the 33 minute mark.