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Sunday, August 24, 2008

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21st Sunday Ordinary Time

Isaiah 22:15, 19-23
Romans 11:33-36
Psalm 138
Matthew 16:13-20

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"viva il papa!"

"I for My part declare to you, you are 'Rock,' and on this rock I will build My Church." —Matthew 16:18

Many Bible teachers have shown their ingenuity in obscuring the meaning of today's Gospel reading. They try to show that Jesus did not really make Peter the "Rock" on which He built His Church. However, when we read this passage in the original Greek and are conscious that Jesus spoke these words originally in Aramaic, we have to admit that this passage means what it appears to mean. Jesus founded the Church on Peter.

Most people would not be too concerned about Peter leading the Church for a few years after Jesus ascended. However, they rightly realize that this Biblical passage implies Peter's leadership of the Church throughout its history. Jesus set up a permanent structure where Peter and his successors lead the Church. Peter's continuing authority and leadership in the Church is not a problem, but a gift. It promotes unity and protects God's people from being overwhelmed by confusion. Peter's successors, the Popes, are parts of Christ's body on whom we can count to proclaim the truth, to proclaim Who is the Truth, even amid deceptions, lies, and propaganda.

We need the Pope and thank God for him. Pray for the Pope. Listen to him. Find out what he teaches. Obey him and apply his teachings to your life.

Prayer:  Father, I will look to the Pope for direction and not do my own thing.

Promise:  "Who has known the mind of the Lord?" —Rm 11:34

Praise:  Praise the risen Jesus, Who sent His Spirit to guide His Church, especially through the Pope and the magisterium.

Reference:  (The annual Home-Based Communities Retreat will be combined with the anticipated dedication of the new chapel at the Paul Jansen Retreat Center on Oct. 10, 11, 12. For more information, call 937-587-5464 or 513-373-2397.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 25, 2008

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