18th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Jer 31:31–34
The time is coming—it is Yahweh who speaks—when I will forge a new covenant with the people of Israel and the people of Judah. It will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. For they broke my covenant although I was their Lord.
This is the covenant I shall make with Israel after that time: I will put my Law within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God and they will be my people.
And they will not have to teach each other, neighbor or brother, saying: “Know the Lord,” because they will all know me, from the greatest to the lowliest, for I will forgive their wrongdoing and no longer remember their sin.”
Gospel: Matthew 16:13-23
Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi. He asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They said, “For some of them you are John the Baptist, for others Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Jesus asked them, “But you, who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “It is well for you, Simon Barjona, for it is not flesh or blood that has revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.
“And now I say to you: You are Peter (or Rock) and on this rock I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it.
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven.”
Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
From that day Jesus began to make it clear to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem; he would suffer many things from the Jewish authorities, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. He would be killed and be raised on the third day.
Then Peter took him aside and began to reproach him, “Never, Lord! No, this must never happen to you.” But Jesus turned to him and said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my path. You are thinking not as God does, but as people do.”
In verse 23, Jesus is telling Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!” Peter was no longer speaking with the voice of God, but with the voice of the devil. How quickly his standing changed! That was Peter, whose name means “Rock.” If you think you are rock solid, this reading seems to tell us, just wait a bit! You are a frail human being like Peter, like everyone. But Jesus never gave up on Peter. Nor will he, we are certain, on you or me.
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