What does it mean to testify to Jesus Christ? Have you ever had the opportunity to proclaim your faith? Peter’s bold testimony in this coming Sunday’s Gospel reading is a compelling lesson on Christian responsibility, but also on human happiness.
Father Ian VanHeusen presents a Catholic Bible Study on the Gospel reading from Matthew 16:13-20, when Jesus gives Peter the keys to the Kingdom, founding the Catholic Church.
We invite you to watch Father’s video, then prayerfully read the Gospel and reflection. We pray that this might help you in your apostolate, your family, your classroom, or personally… to prepare for and more deeply experience Sunday’s Mass, and to better integrate the Sacrament and the readings into your daily life.
1. Courage is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
2. We proclaim Jesus Christ, not ourselves.
3. Sharing our faith is the path to fulfillment and happiness.
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.
The Gospel of the Lord
1. Think back to a time when you have either had the courage to proclaim your faith boldly, or when you kept quiet about it. What circumstances influenced your testimony, or your silence? What would you do differently if you had it to do over again? Did the exchange make you happy, afraid, embarrassed, ashamed?
2. When you speak about Jesus, Catholicism, the Church, do you always point back to God, or is it merely an opportunity to draw attention to yourself? Examine your motivations. How can you glorify Him better in actual conversation?
3. Have a conversation with the Holy Spirit, asking Him to inspire your words and your courage, and to help you be ready for the next opportunity to testify to Jesus Christ, and the joy He has brought to your life.
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