Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 16:13-19.
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 Messiah, 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.”
There was another piece from Luke that was set apart as the beginning of the daily Mass. Jesus says to Peter: “I have prayed for you that you will not lose your faith and when you turn again, you will strengthen your brothers.”
I thought that in a small way this line was meant for me. After I returned to my faith and Jeannie was in the hospital, there was a time that I prayed with her over the phone because she was scared. A few days later she died in her sleep. And Christine on the night before her heart surgery called me. We talked for a few minutes until the nurse took away the phone. She, too, was frightened. I hope that I was able to help Christine as she too died after her surgery. And now Jill is terribly ill and has come to lean on me for comfort. I pray every night the Divine Mercy Chaplet for her, and often during the day, I ask God to take care of her. There was a sense this morning that this is my “calling” in a way – to accompany my sisters in their final journeys, to give them comfort as I can, though it be just a little. Perhaps Jesus has prayed for me as well, that I have the courage and strength to strengthen my sisters, to help them as they make their way to Him. That would be an awesome responsibility. I will need the Lord’s help if I am to serve Him in this way.