Today’s Gospel: Matthew 16, 13-19 – Sts. Peter and Paul
If you ever been blessed enough to make a pilgrimage to Rome, you may have visited two of the most important churches in all of Christendom: St. Peter’s Basilica and the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. They’re significant for our faith not merely because they are architectural and artistic wonders, but rather because of what they have been built upon. They mark the actual sites where the two saints we celebrate today died and were buried: Peter, the first pope, to whom Jesus himself gave all authority on heaven and earth, and Paul, whom the Lord personally tasked with growing the Church to the ends of the earth.
Yet their impressive basilicas are not simply monuments to their memory. Thousands of years later, these great edifices continue to inspire the faithful who visit, pray, and in this Jubilee Year, cross the threshold of their Holy Doors. Why? Because they are quite literally built upon the faith of the Apostles Peter and Paul. The foundation of the faith of billions of people for two millennia began as responses as honest and simple as the one we hear Peter give Jesus in today’s gospel, “Lord, you know that I love you.”
I find it intimidating to think that my faith needs to be strong enough to inspire millions of others—it’s not. But then I remember that Jesus didn’t ask Peter or Paul for a detailed business plan, or to pass a theological orthodoxy test. The question we hear three times in the gospel is the same one He gently asks you and me every day, “Do you love me?” If we can say yes to that, then one day people will look back and marvel at what was built upon our faith.
Can you honestly and humbly say to our Lord Jesus that you love him? What will be built upon your simple “yes” to Jesus today?
Lord, you know that I love you. Please strengthen my faith this day so that I may be a foundation for others.
Copyright 2016 Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP
Paulist priest Fr. Dave Dwyer, CSP is Director of Busted Halo Ministries, publisher of BustedHalo.com, host of the “Sacraments 101” video series and “The Busted Halo Show” nightly on SiriusXM radio. He has appeared on CNN, Fox News, NBC News, Entertainment Tonight and The Daily Show. He worked in campus ministry at the Universities of Colorado and Texas. Prior to ordination he directed television on Comedy Central.