THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE CULTURE OF LIFE
PETER THE ROCK
Today’s gospel: Matthew 16:13-19
The fight of this third millennium is the fight between the
culture of death and the culture of life. Ultimately it is
a fight between Satan and God. This fight has raged since
creation, and will continue to rage until the Lord returns
once again in glory.
frontline forces in this war are formidable. On the side of
Satan are the US government under Obama, the European Union,
the United Nations, billionaire philanthropists, international
liberal media, and a host of other diabolical forces. On the
side of God is the holy Roman Catholic Church, the only strong
institution standing against the culture of death.
we already know who is the victor. By the death and resurrection
of Jesus, he already crushed the head of the serpent. But
the serpent’s thrashing tail is still able to afflict
many. Jesus will come again in glory at the end of time. In
the meantime, we are in for a bruising war.
Jesus established his church, which is his body on earth.
He appointed Peter as the first head of the church. “And
so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will
build my church” (Mt 16:18a). Peter was the first pope.
There has been a continuous succession of popes through two
millennia, with the current 265th pope, Benedict XVI. With
Pope Benedict XVI resigning effective end of this month, there
is again some apprehension. What is to happen to the Church?
have the very assurances of Jesus that “the gates of
the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18b).
No matter how dark the world seems to be, no matter how dominant
the culture of death is, no matter how powerful Satan’s
diabolical forces are, no matter how overwhelmingly the tsunami
of evil is assaulting the whose world, they cannot prevail
against the Church. In fact, though it seems as if pro-life
forces are often on the defensive, the Church is actually
on the offensive. We assault the dominion of the enemy. Gates
are stationary, intended for defense. The Church assaults
the gates of the netherworld, which shall not prevail.
to the pope, the overall leader of the holy Roman Catholic
Church, he is Peter. He has been given “the keys to
the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 16:19a). The pope provides
the access, and so it is basically only through the Catholic
Church where one can enter heaven.
the pope has been given authority direct from Jesus himself.
“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
(Mt 16:19). Jesus has delegated his power over his church
to the pope.
Are we not greatly consoled and energized by these profound
realities? Our Roman Catholic Church is the very body of Christ
on earth, built on the rock that is the pope. The authority
of our human head (the pope) is the very authority of Christ,
who remains the true head of the Church. Our enemy will not
prevail against us.
we look forward to the Conclave of Cardinals that will elect
the new pope. We do so with excitement and anticipation. We
know the true head of our Church to be Jesus. “You are
the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Mt 16:16).
We know the human head of our Church to be the pope. In this
Year of Faith, we believe what Jesus told Peter: “flesh
and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.”
us pray for the Holy Spirit to touch the minds and hearts
of the cardinal-electors. Let it be Jesus who will truly appoint
his next representative on earth.