Today we learn about Simon Peter and how he professes his belief that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus makes Peter the leader of His church, thus making Peter the first pope in Catholic history.
O God, shepherd and ruler of all the faithful,
look favorably on your servant Pope Francis,
whom you have set at the head of your Church as her shepherd;
Grant, we pray, that by word and example
he may be of service to those over whom he presides
so that, together with the flock entrusted to his care,
he may come to everlasting life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the
unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnPa-Qp7IBU (Credit to Catholic Kids Media)
Ask: Who are some leaders in our Church today? Why is it important for our Church to have good leaders? (Accept all reasonable answers.)
Ask: What question did Jesus ask his disciples? (What are people saying about me?) What answers do the disciples give? (John the Baptist, Elijah, the prophets) And then what does Jesus ask? (He asks for his disciples’ opinion.) Who speaks for the disciples? (Peter)
Say: In this Gospel, Jesus recognizes the disciple Peter as an important leader because Peter professes his belief that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus commends Peter for this, not because he came to this belief on his own, but because God allowed Peter to recognize Jesus as his only Son.
Say: Peter played an important role in the early Christian community and helped to build the Church. This was a role given to him by God. We continue to honor Peter and those who have followed him as leaders in the Church. Today we recognize and honor the pope as Peter’s successor. Like Peter, the pope reminds us that we are a people united in the faith that Jesus is God’s Son.