Knowing Jesus, Serving Him

Matthew 16:13-19
Acts 12:1-11 / Ps 34 / 2 Tm 4:6-8.17-18

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.
(Matthew 16:19)

Thank God for the opportunity
Of being stewards for His kingdom;
The Word of God as our ministry,
With His authority and wisdom.

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But what about you? Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:13-19)

Reflection

Jesus entrusted to St. Peter the “keys to the kingdom of heaven” as the symbol of the Church’s authority and wisdom. All authority and wisdom come from God. They are the fruit of faith. God has given them for a divine purpose. The few who are called to serve are given the tools for the harvest. God never leaves them on their own. His Spirit always abides in all their undertakings for His kingdom. That is why they can speak with authority because He imbues them with His wisdom.

It is a sacred privilege to share in the work of the Lord’s ministers, our bishops and priests, whose authority emanates directly from God. “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” This passage strongly admonishes them to safeguard all the spiritual graces that Jesus has entrusted to them in the ministry of the sacraments. How fortunate we are to have the Lord’s ministers to provide us what we need for our spiritual benefit – practically for free. It should only be natural for us to accord the reverence due them as God’s holy ministers.

We never lose anything when we serve in the Lord’s vineyard, whether as speaker, discussion leader, prayer intercessor, or servant. In fact, we gain more. In preparing a talk, personal testimony, or writing Gospel reflections, the Holy Spirit gives insights which we consider gifts of wisdom, revealed by Divine Providence Himself! In a way, we are so privileged to receive the “keys of heaven.” And when the article is finished or the talk delivered, we feel like St. Paul who “has fought the good fight and finished the race.” (2 Tim.4:7) “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed.” (2Tim.4:17)

To everyone involved in the ministry of the Word, the work is the reward itself because the manifestations of the Holy Spirit are such precious gifts. We believe our Lord’s words that “flesh and blood has not revealed (these to us), but (our) heavenly Father.” (Mt.16:17) What a joy it is to know that like the disciples of Jesus, we too are being sent by the Lord in spreading the Good News of salvation.

Thank You, Lord for the assurance of Your kingdom that we receive through our pope, bishops and priests; and for the precious opportunity of sharing in their work. Amen.

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