Thursday, January 27, 2011

St. Peter and Jesus

If you are new to my blog and don't know me, you might not know I am Catholic. Yesterday's links probably let the cat of the bag in that regard. Being Catholic has always been a part of who I am but to varying degrees. In my early years I only vaguely had a knowledge of it as we didn't always attend Mass as regularly as we should have. In my teen years it was a HUGE part of who I was. To the point that I was seriously questioning if I was being called to the seminary. Through my 20's it held varying degrees of importance as I allowed work or football or any of a number of things to keep me from being faithful. 

As I hit my 30's it has become a big part of me again. I have always loved my Catholic faith, but I haven't always been able to defend it or define it. I decided to change that and have consumed a ton of books on apologetics as well as determining to read my Bible and Catechism this year.

As part of this journey of strengthening my faith I have been perusing the discussion forums at Catholic Answers and taking part in many discussions. A routine discussion on the forums is whether or not Jesus intended to found a church, which church it was and whether St. Peter holds any special place in that discussion. Protestants and Catholics line up on the appropriate sides and hurl scripture, dictionary definitions and other sources at each other attempting to sway the other side.

Obviously being Catholic I believe he did intend to found a church. The Catholic Church traces her hierarchy from Benedict XVI back to Peter through an unbroken line of succession.

Now Peter is an interesting guy. A simple fisherman Simon son of Jonah. perhaps the wobbliest link in Christ's chain of Apostles (aside from Judas- the son of Perdition). Peter was prone to anger, doubt, fear and passion.

Yet Christ gives him a special mission:

[13] And Jesus came into the quarters of Caesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is? [14] But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. [15] Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?

[16] Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. [17] And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. [18] And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [19] And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. [20] Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.

Jesus was a Davidic King. Kings in the line of David had many servants there are 12 in 1 Kgs 4:7. There was always a chief between the king and the other ministers. That Prime Minister if you will held all authority as if he were king himself if he was disobeyed it was tantamount to disobeying the king. Isaiah 22: 15-25 directly prefigures Jesus' giving Peter that authority and is in fact quoted by Jesus in the above verses from St. Matthew's gospel. 

Now in Acts we see Peter taking charge of the 11 and the first thing that is done, even before Pentecost (the birthday of the Church) is naming a successor to Judas. The assembled apostles relying on guidance from the Holy Spirit, appoint Matthias as his successor.

Peter also issues punishments in Acts and plays a leadership role at the Jerusalem Council, the Church's first ecumenical council.

The evidence that Jesus intended Peter to steward his ministry after his Ascension becomes overwhelming. All this without even touching on the "Feed My sheep, tend My lambs" discussion.

And so this was a very long way to get around to saying everything I hold in faith, germinates from this one central idea.


Catholic Defender said...

Nice blog you have Michael. Keep on blogging...

God bless.

Joe Heschmeyer said...

Building on a solid foundation here. Rock, even.

Michael said...

Yeah, it's a start. :-)
I definitely like the apologetics and church history posts, but I have a lot of other things I want to talk about as well.