Sunday reflection: Matthew 16:13–20

posted at 10:01 am on August 24, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection represents only my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion. Previous Sunday Reflections from the main page can be found here.  For previous Green Room entries, click here.

This morning’s Gospel reading is Matthew 16:13-20:

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.

This may sound like the start of a joke, but bear with me for a moment. How many priests does it take to officiate at a Catholic wedding? If we want to be really technical, the answer is zero … because a deacon can officiate when the wedding does not include a Mass. If the Catholic wedding takes place during the celebration of Mass, then at least one priest has to be present to conduct the Mass as well as officiate the nuptials.

Maybe that question was too easy. Here’s another: How many priests can one include in a Catholic wedding? Well, that’s a tough question, because it appeared to be unlimited at the wedding we attended yesterday. We did not know the bride and groom, but we knew their story through the parents of the groom, who are friends of ours. And their story demonstrates the nature of vocations, and the many ways in which the Holy Spirit calls us to serve the body of Christ.

Rather than use their real names, I’ll call the newlyweds John and Lisa. John and Lisa had something in common long before they met; they both felt called to discern about the religious life. John went into the seminary, and Lisa became a novice in a local order. Both planned on dedicating their lives to service. However, both John and Lisa eventually discerned that the Lord may not have called them to the life of a priest or nun. John left the seminary just before his ordination as a transitional deacon, which takes place one year before a priestly ordination; Lisa left her order. Neither was certain what lay ahead, but both put their trust in the Lord that He would lead them to their true vocations.

Lisa took a job at a church in our diocese, and not long afterward John applied for a job there as well. They immediately felt drawn to one another, and eventually began dating and engaged to be married. They had discovered that their vocation in the Body of Christ was to family life and service in the laity. That is a true vocation — building a family that extends the body of Christ and models Jesus’ self-sacrificial love for His church. This is how we build our Christian communities and fulfill our baptismal offices of priests, prophets, and kings, and how we build our parishes and dioceses into evangelically-oriented centers of service and neighborly love.

One might imagine that the seminary and the religious order regretted losing two such dedicated Christians, but that’s where the questions get answered. John’s seminary class graduated in June and became ordained as priests in the diocese. All of his classmates not only came to the wedding, but concelebrated the wedding Mass with him, in joy for John’s discovery of his true vocation. His seminary formator has now become an auxiliary bishop in this diocese, and was the lead celebrant of the Mass at the cathedral. The order to which Lisa aspired provided the choir for the Mass, also in delight for her discovery of her true vocation. Wedding Masses are always celebratory, but the dimensions of this celebration felt truly unprecedented.

Actually, the second question still has no answer. I didn’t get a precise count of the number of priests at the altar yesterday, but it did include two bishops (one from another diocese) and a dozen or more of our newest priests. They easily outnumbered the eight attendants to the bride and groom, and might have outnumbered the combined immediate families of John and Lisa at the Mass, too.

The joy of being called to service can be seen in the Gospel. In today’s reading, Peter receives the most significant call to a vocation in the New Testament — the keys to the kingdom and the leader of the Church. Peter spent his life pursuing a much different path before receiving Jesus’ initial call to become His disciple. Peter had learned the trade of fisherman, and already had a wife. In that time, a man with that skill would spend his life plying that trade and would hope to raise sons as apprentices in it as well. The learned were those chosen early in life to study Scripture and become disciples of a rabbi, but that opportunity would have been long past for Peter or any of the other disciples as well.

God had other plans for Peter, though. It didn’t matter that Peter had not been chosen for higher education, or that he had only developed the skills in life for commercial fishing. The Lord chose Peter for a specific vocation, and then gave Peter the necessary gifts (or “charisms”) with which to accomplish it through the Holy Spirit. That was true when Jesus first beckoned Peter to leave his boat, and Jesus explicitly proclaims it to be the case here, telling Peter that he is “blessed” because “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.”

The Lord put that in Peter’s heart and inspired him to confess it out loud. In that moment, Peter discovered his vocation — although as we saw almost immediately afterward, that does not mean that Peter had been suddenly perfected. In Matthew 16:21-28, Peter attempts to impose his own will on Jesus rather than allow God to work through him, and earns a harsh rebuke from Jesus — who had just given Peter the keys to the kingdom! In his fright during the Passion, Peter denied Jesus three times, and then hid in shame when he realized what he had done. But that did not change his vocation, and the Holy Spirit provided Peter the charisms necessary to complete his mission within the Church.

So it goes with us, whatever our vocation happens to be. We work at fulfilling our vocation, whether in the laity or among the ordained, and we will all make mistakes along the way. We have to trust that the Lord calls us to a particular vocation in life, and we must discern through prayer and action to determine what that might be for each of us. For some, that means exploring paths that we may never end up completing, just to take a surprising turn and find the road which Jesus had prepared for us all along. It takes patience, prayer, and deep trust that God has a place and a task for all of us in building the body of Christ. Our vocation may not be as dramatic as Peter’s, but no vocation is small, either, or unimportant.

John and Lisa had that trust, and so did those whose lives they touched while walking their own paths to their vocations. That is why they took such joy in the celebration, having been part of the journey. The rest of us were just fortunate to celebrate along with them — and have them all inspire us to trust in the Lord on our own journeys.

The front page image is a detail from Michelangelo’s “The Final Judgment” mural in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Thank you, Ed. A lovely wedding story as well.

Dolce Far Niente on August 24, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Today in the Maronite Rite, first reading Ephesians 3 : 1 – 13
Gospel according to the Apostle Matthew 15 : 21 – 28
All about Faith.
Thanks Ed

Zorro on August 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Oh thank you Ed. I don’t know why, but I cried reading this.

John and Lisa’s vocations are not yet complete and therefore your past tense is slightly incorrect.

This is a beginning, not an end. Each day is a beginning.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 10:54 AM

LOVED this – thank you!

Magnolia on August 24, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Zorro on August 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Very interesting. You Maronites are one Sunday behind us Latin Rite people with respect to the Gospel. If that holds up, then Ed’s Reflections from the week before is a really good read in preparation for Mass. The First Reading does not match — but Eph 3:2-12 was part of the weekday Mass on Aug 22.

It would be interesting to know the reasonings behind the seasonings of the various (but similar) liturgical years we Catholics have. From conversations I’ve had with other Christians at work, even evangelicals seem to keep to a liturgical year similar to us.

Once you rivet Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, I guess the liturgical year is pretty well defined. But that still leaves Advent, Lent, and Epiphany.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Awesome post, Ed.

Not all of us are called to serve God as priests and nuns. I’m glad Lisa and John realized that BEFORE committing. Saved a lot of heartache and messy problems. May their union be a fruitful one.

Now, off to Mass.

conservative hispanic on August 24, 2014 at 11:23 AM

I don’t know how many people saw the picture of Iraqi children making their first Communion in Kirkuk,Iraq. It was both beautiful, inspiring and sad at the same time.

celtic warrior on August 24, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Zorro on August 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Very interesting. You Maronites are one Sunday behind us Latin Rite people with respect to the Gospel. If that holds up, then Ed’s Reflections from the week before is a really good read in preparation for Mass. The First Reading does not match — but Eph 3:2-12 was part of the weekday Mass on Aug 22.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 11:17 AM

That’s something I’d like to know more about…the different rites. I work with a gal who is of the Greek Rite and the holidays are usually a week (?) apart.

JetBoy on August 24, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Great post, Ed. For me, especially this piece:

So it goes with us, whatever our vocation happens to be. We work at fulfilling our vocation, whether in the laity or among the ordained, and we will all make mistakes along the way. We have to trust that the Lord calls us to a particular vocation in life, and we must discern through prayer and action to determine what that might be for each of us.

dogsoldier on August 24, 2014 at 12:01 PM

It must have been fantastic witnessing a wedding of that proportion and grandness. I’m not real big on those things ordinarily, but sometimes it just grabs you. Your description grabbed me, and it sounded to me like something I would have loved to see. Thanks for sharing it!

My vocation, as it were, feels like a punishment sometimes, sometimes not. I get pissed with it often, doesn’t mean I can drop it and do something else though. I have a choice, yet I don’t have any choice in the matter at the same time. It would have been nice if I’d have been blessed with the charisms for it, as you say. Either way, not doing what I do isn’t an option even if that option were presented to me in a gift wrapped package. That’s one reason I despise the phrase “it is what it is”.

Anyway, an odd, half joking question popped into my head reading this;

I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.

Did they have keys back then?

Diluculo on August 24, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Both planned on dedicating their lives to service. However, both John and Lisa eventually discerned that the Lord may not have called them to the life of a priest or nun.

.
That reminds me of Martin Luther and his wife… wonder if the RCC ever sanctified their wedding.

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Did they have keys back then?

Diluculo on August 24, 2014 at 12:40 PM

I actually had to look that up. Keys (and locks, of course) go back 4,000-6,000 years.

JetBoy on August 24, 2014 at 1:07 PM

That reminds me of Martin Luther and his wife… wonder if the RCC ever sanctified their wedding.

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 12:47 PM

.
You beat me to it (it is kind of “obvious”).
.
BTW (hope I don’t regret this) . . . what is meant by “the laity”?

listens2glenn on August 24, 2014 at 1:14 PM

what is meant by “the laity”?

listens2glenn on August 24, 2014 at 1:14 PM

.
That’s us… the unordained folk.

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 1:27 PM

What if Yeshua never said this? To a man who denied Him three times? Read Thomas.

John the Libertarian on August 24, 2014 at 1:42 PM

In our sermon today it hit me that it is not the words that were spoken by Peter but the words given to him by God that the foundation of the church was built on. Jesus is the son of God and by those words are built the foundation of the church and what we live for.

crosshugger on August 24, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Read Thomas.

John the Libertarian on August 24, 2014 at 1:42 PM

??

JetBoy on August 24, 2014 at 2:04 PM

In our sermon today it hit me that it is not the words that were spoken by Peter but the words given to him by God

.
As I read the Scripture, I was struck (again) by the context that we do not know and can only imagine. What was Simon Peter’s actual affect when he spoke the words? Was he thunderstruck from heaven before he uttered the identity of Christ? Was he monotonic and matter-of-fact? Did he weep, cry, wail, tremble, thrash in ecstasy? We have to imagine. We have to place ourselves there and make ourselves “Simon Peter.”
.
I have the same problem with Jesus at the well, where he tells the woman there what her past has been even though she has never met Our Lord. Is he dark or humorous, laughing or condemning? We have to imagine because the context is not there, only the essential facts.

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 2:10 PM

He’s talking about the so-called “lost” gospels of Thomas, another gnostic-influenced collection from the 2nd or 3rd century.

Its basically a collection of saying, some lifted from the canonical gospels, other just made up (and some flatly contradicting the gospel message.)

A favorite of of Hollywood looking for something to hang their silliness on.

Dolce Far Niente on August 24, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Quote fail

Read Thomas.

John the Libertarian on August 24, 2014 at 1:42 PM
??

JetBoy on August 24, 2014 at 2:04 PM

He’s talking about the so-called “lost” gospels of Thomas, another gnostic-influenced collection from the 2nd or 3rd century.

Its basically a collection of saying, some lifted from the canonical gospels, other just made up (and some flatly contradicting the gospel message.)

A favorite of of Hollywood looking for something to hang their silliness on.

Dolce Far Niente on August 24, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Beautiful love story, Ed. Both of them.

davidk on August 24, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Adam Smith argues that religious liberty tempers the nefarious effects of fanaticism and allows for rational moderation to prevail in religious societies.

http://www.libertarianism.org/publications/essays/effects-liberty-religion

davidk on August 24, 2014 at 3:06 PM

κλείς, Keys:

κλείς, κλειδός, accusative κλεῖδα and κλεῖν (Luke 11:52; Revelation 3:7), accusative plural κλεῖδας and κλείς (Matthew 16:19; Revelation 1:18; cf. Kühner, § 130, i., p. 357; Winers Grammar, 65 (63), cf. Buttmann, 24 (22); (WH’s Appendix, p. 157)), ἡ (from Homer down); a key. Since the keeper of the keys has the power to open and to shut, the word κλείς is figuratively used in the N. T. to denote power and authority of various kinds (cf. B. D., under the word ) viz. τοῦ φρέατος, to open or unlock the pit, Revelation 9:1, cf. ; τῆς ἀβύσσου, to shut, Revelation 20:1, cf. ; τοῦ θανάτου καί τοῦ ᾅδου, the power to bring back into life from Hades and to leave there, Revelation 1:18; τῆς γνώσεως, the ability and opportunity to obtain knowledge, Luke 11:52; τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν (see βασιλεία, 3 e., p. 97b under the end), Matthew 16:19; τοῦ Δαυίδ, the power of David (who is a type of the Messiah, the second David), i. e. of receiving into the Messiah’s kingdom and of excluding from it, Revelation 3:7 (apparently after Isaiah 22:22, where ἡ κλείς οἴκου Δαυίδ is given to the steward of the royal palace).

THAYER’S GREEK LEXICON

http://biblehub.com/greek/2807.htm

davidk on August 24, 2014 at 3:11 PM

what is meant by “the laity”?

listens2glenn on August 24, 2014 at 1:14 PM

.
That’s us… the unordained folk.

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 1:27 PM

.
“Unordained” as pertains to what ? … The ‘five-fold minstry’?

listens2glenn on August 24, 2014 at 3:16 PM

.
“Unordained” as pertains to what ? … The ‘five-fold minstry’?

listens2glenn on August 24, 2014 at 3:16 PM

I see what you are doing.

davidk on August 24, 2014 at 3:26 PM

I see what you are doing.

davidk on August 24, 2014 at 3:26 PM

.
What is he doing?

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Is he dark or humorous, laughing or condemning? We have to imagine because the context is not there, only the essential facts.

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 2:10 PM

Try it every way you think. Does it change the words? Does it change their meaning? We know Jesus joked with Mary (his mother), so what’s to stop him from joking in other contexts? But when he told Peter what would be, he was undoubtedly quite serious. When he told Peter that he would be the founder of Jesus’ Church, I doubt that he was joking.

He knew what He Himself would have to endure, and we know it was hard. I can’t imagine Jesus joking in that context.

But he could have.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Don’t forget that Peter denied the Lord also. Not the foundation we would like but Peter was a sinner like all of us. He realized that the solid ground was Christ and He is the only foundation.

Now on another note: I heard a broadcast of a local pastor discussing the Old Testament today looking at the time of the Judges. The Israelites and our story have a direct parallel. When the Israelites saw fit to do things their way, doing right in their own eyes, things went south. We, the church have allowed the mouthy left to have us believe in the notion of church and state separation. We allowed God to be pushed out and now look at the crap hole we are in. Wake up church, wake up Christians. This is no time to be limp wristed warriors

crosshugger on August 24, 2014 at 4:07 PM

What is he doing?

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Trying to drop some evangelical stuff into the mix. The evangelicals don’t believe in a priesthood — they believe in roles or gifts putatively assigned by God. We Catholics refer to such as callings and those callings, after discernment, are fulfilled sacramentally.

So, as Ed says above, the two individuals married determined that their callings did not involve ecclesiastical service, but instead involved marriage — yet another sacrament.

I know plenty of evangelicals who refer to their church leader as “minister” or “reverend” or “pastor” or “doctor” — none of which are roles in the “five-fold ministry” (evangelist, shepherd, teacher, prophet, apostle). So the concept of such a division of ministry is not universal even amongst evangelicals.

The role of “presbyter” is in Scripture, but is not one of the five, which is why the five-fold ministry is not mainstream theology — it simplifies too much, and implies that the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the early Church — which persists into modern times — is incorrect at worst, or ought to be recategorized at best.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 4:14 PM

He’s talking about the so-called “lost” gospels of Thomas, another gnostic-influenced collection from the 2nd or 3rd century.

Its basically a collection of saying, some lifted from the canonical gospels, other just made up (and some flatly contradicting the gospel message.)

A favorite of of Hollywood looking for something to hang their silliness on.

Dolce Far Niente on August 24, 2014 at 2:27 PM

That’s what I thought, but I just wasn’t sure if he might be referring to, for example, John 20:24-29…where it’s written how Thomas wanted to see Christ’s wounds for himself before he would believe He was resurrected in the flesh.

JetBoy on August 24, 2014 at 4:41 PM

When he told Peter that he would be the founder of Jesus’ Church, I doubt that he was joking.

He knew what He Himself would have to endure, and we know it was hard. I can’t imagine Jesus joking in that context.

But he could have.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 3:59 PM

.
The “joking context” I suggested was entirely limited to the woman at the well, not to the exchange between Jesus and Simon Peter. They were two separate events and I treated them as such, I thought.

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 4:50 PM

At mass today the priest turned it around in his homily and told us we should ask “Who does Jesus think you are”?

Pervygrin on August 24, 2014 at 5:05 PM

even evangelicals seem to keep to a liturgical year similar to us.
unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 11:17 AM

The evangelicals don’t believe in a priesthood
unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 4:14 PM

You’re incorrect on those points. I don’t know what you mean by “Evangelicals”, but they don’t use a liturgical year (unless you’re counting the observation of Christmas and Easter) and they do believe in a priesthood, the priesthood of all believers.

whatcat on August 24, 2014 at 5:24 PM

At mass today the priest turned it around in his homily and told us we should ask “Who does Jesus think you are”?

Great question!!

On another note, kudos to Ed for this column each week. It rivals Fr. Robert Barron’s “sermons”, which used to emphasize the thread among the readings before the gospel and the gospel reading itself

crankybutt on August 24, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Great story, Ed.

At mass today the priest turned it around in his homily and told us we should ask “Who does Jesus think you are”?
Pervygrin on August 24, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Don’t forget ‘how does God see the one you’re dealing with ?’
Give us eyes to see, Lord.

pambi on August 24, 2014 at 6:50 PM

The “joking context” I suggested was entirely limited to the woman at the well, not to the exchange between Jesus and Simon Peter. They were two separate events and I treated them as such, I thought.

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 4:50 PM

I apologize for not being discerning.

Perhaps it was a joke. But it was, also, as is the case everywhere else in Scripture, a teaching event. It isn’t in there as a grand joke by God.

If Jesus was making the woman at the well the butt of a joke, she handled it well. Her faith in Jesus was not diminished in the least by the interaction. He’s being the quintessential Jewish man in the presence of a despised Samaritan — a woman, no less — and then suddenly everything changes. The woman, having discerned that Jesus has all of the necessary attributes of a prophet, asks him which temple is the proper one in which to worship — the Jewish temple or the Samaritan one?

Whatever his answer, I don’t see a joke. A joke is something to be dismissed, such as Jesus’ statement to Mary “Woman, what would you have me do?” She doesn’t even say anything other than to tell others to do what Jesus tells them to do.

Now, that’s a joke, and Mary is in on it.

But the Samaritan woman is shaken to her core by Jesus, and runs to get the other townspeople to share what he has to say. The Samaritan town then proceeds to entertain Jesus and his group — quite a change from the animosity customarily existing between Jews and Samaritans.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 6:52 PM

You’re incorrect on those points. I don’t know what you mean by “Evangelicals”, but they don’t use a liturgical year (unless you’re counting the observation of Christmas and Easter) and they do believe in a priesthood, the priesthood of all believers.

whatcat on August 24, 2014 at 5:24 PM

I mean the guys I work with. Perhaps your evangelicals believe in a priesthood, but mine certainly do not — believers or otherwise.

Unless you mean that to indicate that there is nothing needed other than the individual and God. At one level, that is true, but… When my evangelical friends said, after I had informed them of some adversity, that they would pray for me. I then asked them why they needed to pray for me, for isn’t my own prayer to the Lord for myself sufficient?

Of course, as a Catholic I know well the answer, but they were taken aback, for they were caught in an inconsistency of belief of the need only for a personal relationship with our Savior. Now they just laugh and say they’ll pray for me anyway — but they understand that which they did not understand before.

And they do have a liturgical year. Don’t forget that the Scriptural timeline is defined by three really big events — Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. How you arrange scripture at and in between those events is how the concept of the liturgical year is made. It’s how Scripture is logically laid out so that the newcomer — the child or the new convert — can understand it.

My Church chooses to do this in a three year cycle, in which the entire Bible is iterated three times, with different passages from within a given Scriptural time frame chosen for each cycle.

I assume that other churches worthy of the name will have a similar logical exposition of the Word.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 7:08 PM

I then asked them why they needed to pray for me, for isn’t my own prayer to the Lord for myself sufficient?
unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Sometimes not, unc.
Doesn’t mean He dinna hear it, BUT …
Oh, man .. LOL .. “That’s another whole talk show” … LOL.
:-)

pambi on August 24, 2014 at 8:28 PM

. . . . . what is meant by “the laity”?

listens2glenn on August 24, 2014 at 1:14 PM

.
That’s us… the unordained folk.

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 1:27 PM
.

“Unordained” as pertains to what ? … The ‘five-fold minstry’?

listens2glenn on August 24, 2014 at 3:16 PM

.
I see what you are doing.

davidk on August 24, 2014 at 3:26 PM
.

What is he doing?

ExpressoBold on August 24, 2014 at 3:32 PM

.
Trying to drop some evangelical stuff into the mix. The evangelicals don’t believe in a priesthood — they believe in roles or gifts putatively assigned by God. We Catholics refer to such as callings and those callings, after discernment, are fulfilled sacramentally.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 4:14 PM

.
Wow (and a half) . . . . . perhaps my 3:16 PM post (question) should have been worded ; … Who are the “ordained” ?
.
What are “evangelicals” ? . . . . . (and their “stuff”?)

If I believe in a New Testament ‘priesthood’, but define it a LOT differently than Roman Catholicism . . . . . what does that make me ?

If I believe “minstry gifts” [Eph 4: 7-16] are assigned by God, what does that make me ?

I refer to ministry gifts as “callings”, but you’re going to have to explain “discernment”, and “fulfilled sacramentally.”
.

So, as Ed says above, the two individuals married determined that their callings did not involve ecclesiastical service, but instead involved marriage — yet another sacrament.

I know plenty of evangelicals who refer to their church leader as “minister” or “reverend” or “pastor” or “doctor” — none of which are roles in the “five-fold ministry” (evangelist, shepherd, teacher, prophet, apostle). So the concept of such a division of ministry is not universal even amongst evangelicals.

The role of “presbyter” is in Scripture, but is not one of the five, which is why the five-fold ministry is not mainstream theology — it simplifies too much, and implies that the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the early Church — which persists into modern times — is incorrect at worst, or ought to be recategorized at best.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 4:14 PM

.
The rest of that appears to be differences in terminology, for theological beliefs that aren’t really all that different … but, I could be wrong.

.

listens2glenn on August 24, 2014 at 11:32 PM

You’re incorrect on those points. I don’t know what you mean by “Evangelicals”, but they don’t use a liturgical year (unless you’re counting the observation of Christmas and Easter) and they do believe in a priesthood, the priesthood of all believers.

whatcat on August 24, 2014 at 5:24 PM

.
I mean the guys I work with. Perhaps your evangelicals believe in a priesthood, but mine certainly do not — believers or otherwise.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 7:08 PM

.
Naaah . . . . . everyone knows that all non-members of the Roman Catholic Church who claim to be Christian believers, are absolutely identical in their theology . . . . . no differences what-so-ever.
.

Unless you mean that to indicate that there is nothing needed other than the individual and God. At one level, that is true, but… When my evangelical friends said, after I had informed them of some adversity, that they would pray for me. I then asked them why they needed to pray for me, for isn’t my own prayer to the Lord for myself sufficient?

Of course, as a Catholic I know well the answer, but they were taken aback, for they were caught in an inconsistency of belief of the need only for a personal relationship with our Savior. Now they just laugh and say they’ll pray for me anyway — but they understand that which they did not understand before.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 7:08 PM

.
Is there just a chance that they may have viewed praying for you as an assistance, or help to yourself … as opposed to something you absolutely needed ?

I’m pretty sure this is one thing Elisa and I agreed on, last week :

listens2glenn, thank you for your prayers.

Elisa on August 17, 2014 at 9:30 PM
.

You’re welcome … that’s one favor that can be passed back’n’forth here among and between ALL, in spite of all other differences.

listens2glenn on August 17, 2014 at 9:48 PM

.
. . . . . I will also pray for you. I truly appreciate your kind heart. Thank you.

Elisa on August 18, 2014 at 12:13 PM

.
————————————————————————–
.

. . . . . And they (evangelicals) do have a liturgical year. Don’t forget that the Scriptural timeline is defined by three really big events — Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. How you arrange scripture at and in between those events is how the concept of the liturgical year is made. It’s how Scripture is logically laid out so that the newcomer — the child or the new convert — can understand it.

My Church chooses to do this in a three year cycle, in which the entire Bible is iterated three times, with different passages from within a given Scriptural time frame chosen for each cycle.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 7:08 PM

.
I individually (not speaking for all “evangelicals”) fail see any necessity for recognition of a “liturgical year” to help or assist those who are ‘new’ in their relationship with God, to understand the Bible.

But . . . . . I’ve been wrong before.
.

I assume that other churches worthy of the name will have a similar logical exposition of the Word.

unclesmrgol on August 24, 2014 at 7:08 PM

.
And if they don’t ?

listens2glenn on August 25, 2014 at 12:25 AM

Thanks Ed. I always enjoy your real life examples and the tie in to the Scriptures.

Give me best to the newlyweds.

HonestLib on August 25, 2014 at 10:35 AM

I’m convinced that one of the reasons many people are so dismissive as to be hostile of religion is that if you travel down the path of being open to the Holy Spirit revealing the truth to you, with that comes responsibility — to examine and make changes in your comfortable life practices; your responsibilities to your neighbors. Knowing the truth and what you’re called to do, and then choosing not to do it, is quite different than blocking it all from your mind and not even entertaining the thought.

I know this vividly, as I became fully accepted into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil this year, having completed RCIA. (I was baptized a Catholic as a baby but had very little contact with the Church over my life.)

I bring it up because imagine Simon-Peter, hearing from the one he now recognizes is the Messiah, that he will be the foundational figure of his church. That he will make decisions that will be binding in Heaven as in Earth.

Do you think Peter felt exhilarated at this news? I bet he felt terrified. Wholly unworthy. And yet the zeal with which Peter preached the Gospel and spread Christianity intensified after Jesus had left the Earth. He accepted and thrived in that role because he so trusted the Lord, allowing his faith to overcome his fear and almost certain feelings of inadequacy.

I find Peter such a compelling figure in a lot of ways. So human and fallible.

FishingwFredo on August 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

I’m convinced that one of the reasons many people are so dismissive as to be hostile of religion is that if you travel down the path of being open to the Holy Spirit revealing the truth to you, with that comes responsibility — to examine and make changes in your comfortable life practices; your responsibilities to your neighbors. Knowing the truth and what you’re called to do, and then choosing not to do it, is quite different than blocking it all from your mind and not even entertaining the thought.

FishingwFredo on August 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

.
( Uh oh . . . . . . . . . He’s on to me . . . . . )
.
. . . . . . . VERY well said, ‘Fredo

listens2glenn on August 25, 2014 at 12:05 PM

I’m convinced that one of the reasons many people are so dismissive as to be hostile of religion is that if you travel down the path of being open to the Holy Spirit revealing the truth to you, with that comes responsibility — to examine and make changes in your comfortable life practices; your responsibilities to your neighbors. Knowing the truth and what you’re called to do, and then choosing not to do it, is quite different than blocking it all from your mind and not even entertaining the thought.

FishingwFredo on August 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Agree with l2g, here .. Well said.

blocking it all from your mind and not even entertaining the thought.

THAT involves HUMILITY .. Pretty rare, nowadays.

pambi on August 25, 2014 at 2:48 PM

THAT involves HUMILITY .. Pretty rare, nowadays.

pambi on August 25, 2014 at 2:48 PM

.
Non-sense . . . . . I’ve got plenty of “humility”. . . . . In fact, I’ve got “humility” to spare … I probably have “humility” I don’t even know about . . . . . MY HUMILITY KNOWS NO BOUNDS !

But because of my “humility” I’ll stop talkin’ about it … otherwise, I might lose it.

listens2glenn on August 25, 2014 at 4:49 PM

listens2glenn on August 25, 2014 at 4:49 PM

;-)

pambi on August 25, 2014 at 5:08 PM

listens2glenn on August 25, 2014 at 4:49 PM

.
;-)

pambi on August 25, 2014 at 5:08 PM

.
I thank God every day for all the humility He’s given me … otherwise, I might become conceited or something . . . . . Then I’d become so over-bearing the rest of you would run me outta’ here, or I’d get banned . . . . .

listens2glenn on August 25, 2014 at 10:22 PM

You’re incorrect on those points. I don’t know what you mean by “Evangelicals”, but they don’t use a liturgical year (unless you’re counting the observation of Christmas and Easter) and they do believe in a priesthood, the priesthood of all believers.

whatcat on August 24, 2014 at 5:24 PM

It doesn’t really go that deep in many mainstream evangelical churches. Yes, the pastor has typically gone to seminary, but the lack of doctrine in these churches renders the pastor little more than a cheerleader for social services or a motivational speaker for moral living.

I suspect part of the issue is the near absence of any kind of structure providing oversight. Usually one church or pastor oversees and that’s it, making one church highly susceptible to doctrinal error. There’s something o be said in structure in the Catholic Church (although I highly disagree with the idea of unmarried priests).

TheMightyMonarch on August 26, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Ed, that wedding sounded gorgeous. Wish I could have seen it. Thanks for sharing it.

Elisa on August 26, 2014 at 9:54 AM

I don’t know how many people saw the picture of Iraqi children making their first Communion in Kirkuk,Iraq. It was both beautiful, inspiring and sad at the same time.

celtic warrior on August 24, 2014 at 11:25 AM

I tried to google that but couldn’t find it. God bless those children.

Elisa on August 26, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Today in the Maronite Rite, first reading Ephesians 3 : 1 – 13
Gospel according to the Apostle Matthew 15 : 21 – 28
All about Faith.
Thanks Ed

Zorro on August 24, 2014 at 10:45 AM

I have always wanted to go to an Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy and if I could go to one, it would be in the Maronite Rite.

I’ve been to weddings at a Greek Orthodox Church and a Coptic Orthodox Church. I think their Divine Liturgies are similar to Byzantine Catholic and Coptic Catholic. Not sure.

I hear the ancient Maronite Divine Liturgy is beautiful.

Elisa on August 26, 2014 at 10:02 AM

I’m convinced that one of the reasons many people are so dismissive as to be hostile of religion is that if you travel down the path of being open to the Holy Spirit revealing the truth to you, with that comes responsibility — to examine and make changes in your comfortable life practices; your responsibilities to your neighbors. Knowing the truth and what you’re called to do, and then choosing not to do it, is quite different than blocking it all from your mind and not even entertaining the thought.

FishingwFredo on August 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

So true!

I find Peter such a compelling figure in a lot of ways. So human and fallible.

FishingwFredo on August 25, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Another great convert, G.K. Chesterton had the same observation:

““When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward – in a word, a man. Peter. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”

Elisa on August 26, 2014 at 10:04 AM

listens2glenn on August 25, 2014 at 4:49 PM

LOL

Litany of Humility:

(My favorite line is the last, which I will bold.)

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Elisa on August 26, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Did they have keys back then?

Diluculo on August 24, 2014 at 12:40 PM

I see you’ve already been given the answer. Funny what questions pop into our heads.

I wrote this for someone else once about the “keys” and thought you or others might find it interesting.

Actually I didn’t write the thoughts, I was paraphrasing an named author:

Later all are given the power to bind and loose, but Peter gets it first alone. And only Peter is given the keys to the Kingdom.

All the following is my paraphrasing and condensing of a section of the book “Upon this Rock” by Stephen K. Ray. Anything in quotes are Ray’s words.

It’s a great book and I would recommend it to anyone. The footnotes are very long and as interesting as the book is. It is filled with scripture, early Christian writers, and both Catholic and Protestant scholars.

First I’ll talk about “binding and loosing.”

“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

In Jewish tradition this meant the “legislative and judicial powers of the Rabbinic office.” All of the middle east used these terms. This power was also given to all the Apostles in John’s Gospel.

This was “profound to First Century Jews.” Early converts would not be “confused or uncertain about what Jesus meant.” The first century Jewish historian, Josephus used these word also.

This meant that Peter and the Apostles had authority. To judge and to make laws, and also to forgive and retain. The original Greek words in this New Testament passage and the Hebrew words they stood for in part meant “to forbid and to allow” in rabbinical religious law.

While the binding and loosing power was given to all the Apostles (the first priests and Bishops), the “keys” were only given to Peter.

“I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.”

This had huge significance. The “keys” were the “hallmark of royal authority.”

They belonged to Jesus and they were His to give and entrust to His steward. This would also be unmistakable to the Jews of Jesus’ time. The Davidic kings were “possessors of the keys of David” and had the power to “open and shut.”

Luke 1:30-33
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the LORD GOD WILL GIVE HIM THE THRONE OF DAVID HIS FATHER AND HE WILL RULE OVER THE HOUSE OF JACOB FOREVER, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Revelation 3:6-7
“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘
“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write this: ” ‘The holy one, the true, who HOLDS THE KEY OF DAVID, WHO OPENS AND NO ONE SHALL CLOSE, WHO CLOSES AND NO ONE SHALL OPEN, says this: . . . “

Jesus was the Davidic king forever and He was the “holy one.” He held the “key of David” and would reign “forever.”

The Davidic Jewish kings of Israel followed the customs of other Middle Eastern kingdoms, such as Egypt. They had stewards who had “dominion over the house” like the Egyptian royalty and other Eastern rulers had Viziers and Majordomos.

We see in the Old Testament when they name the various Davidic Kings and many of their Chief Stewards.

The Steward/Vizier/Majordomo was not simply a person, but an office that had succession. The king would entrust this office to someone he trusted and that person had royal authority over the land.

Isaiah 22:19-22
“I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station. On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I WILL PLACE THE KEY OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID ON HIS SHOULDER, WHEN HE OPENS, NO ONE WILL SHUT, WHEN HE SHUTS, NO ONE SHALL OPEN.”

Here we see the Jewish king’s steward, Eliakim. The king places the “key of the house of David on his shoulder.” The steward is entrusted with the king’s power to “open” and “shut,” like in Revelations Chapter 3 above, where Jesus, as Davidic king, has the “key” and the power to “open” and “close.” Jesus also conferred his royal power to His steward, Peter.

Here is another passage which talks about the Egyptian steward (called a Vizier), Joseph (son of Hebrew Patriarch, Jacob).

Genesis 41:38-45
“Could we find another like him,” Pharaoh asked his officials, “a man so endowed with the spirit of God?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph: “SINCE GOD HAS MADE ALL THIS KNOWN TO YOU, no one can be as wise and discerning as you are. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people shall dart at your command. Only in respect to the throne shall I outrank you. Herewith,” Pharaoh told Joseph, “I place you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” With that, Pharaoh took off his signet ring and put it on Joseph’s finger. He had him dressed in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. He then had him ride in the chariot of his VIZIER, and they shouted “Abrek!” before him. Thus was Joseph INSTALLED OVER THE WHOLE LAND OF EGYPT.
“I, Pharaoh, proclaim,” he told Joseph, “that without your approval no one shall move hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
Pharaoh also BESTOWED THE NAME OF Zaphnath-paneah on Joseph, and he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of Heliopolis.”

Note the three things I capitalized. Joseph, as Vizier, was chosen because God had made things known to him. Just like Jesus said to Peter. His heavenly father revealed the truth to Peter and that is why Peter was chosen.

The Pharoah changed Joseph’s name upon giving him the office and the power. Just like Peter’s name was changed by Jesus (the king) when Jesus gave Peter (the steward) the “keys.”

It seems that Protestant and Catholic Bible scholars alike believe that Joseph was also given “the gift of infallible interpretation as the ‘preserver’ of Egypt.” (I don’t understand where this comes from. Maybe from “no one can be as wise and discerning as you are.”) Anyway there seems to be agreement on this point concerning Joseph. Catholics also believe that Peter had the “gift of infallible interpretation.”

And Joseph had power over the “whole land of Egypt.” In Isaiah above, the steward, Eliakim, “shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.” Peter was also given authoritative power and was to be a “father” to the Christians.

Page 266 says, “Once the work of redemption had been completed and all authority had been given to Jesus, he passed the keys of authority over to Peter to administer the kingdom as a visible steward in his ‘absence.’”

This key of royal authority is not the only key conferred upon Peter. Jesus said, “I will give you the KEYS to the kingdom of heaven.”

What are these other keys? The keys to the Netherworld/Hell/Hades.

“Abyss” is also translated as “bottomless pit” and “Netherworld” is also translated as Hades or Hell in some Bible versions (Catholic and Protestant.)

Revelation 1:17-18
When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last,
the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the KEYS TO DEATH AND THE NETHERWORLD.”

Revelation 9:1
“Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. It was given the KEY FOR THE PASSAGE TO THE ABYSS.”

Revelation 20:1-2

“Then I saw an angel come down from heaven, holding in his hand the KEY TO THE ABYSS and a heavy chain. He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years. . .”

These passages in Revelation describe Jesus having the keys to death and the Netherworld. Jesus gave the Church the power to save souls and overcome sin (evil and Satan) and death by preaching Christ’s message. Jesus gave Peter authority over the Church, by giving him the keys.

These keys (over sin and death and royal Davidic authority forever) were given by Jesus to Peter alone. The office of Steward was an office with succession and Jesus reigns forever. So we believe that this office given to Peter also had succession.

(end of paraphrase of Ray’s book)

Elisa on August 26, 2014 at 10:16 AM

(although I highly disagree with the idea of unmarried priests).

TheMightyMonarch on August 26, 2014 at 9:52 AM

It is only the Roman/Latin/Western Catholic Church.

The 21 or so ancient Eastern Catholic Churches (like the Maronite one we were discussing here) have married priests.

However, the Bishops are celibate. Just like in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.

Married priest in the Eastern Orthodox Churches are, according to their Church Discipline, to abstain from marital acts the night before they celebrate the Divine Liturgy (Latins call it “Mass.”)

The Pope, Bishop of Rome, about 100 years ago removed that requirement from married Catholic priests.

There have always been married and celibate priests in the Catholic Church since the time of the Apostles. Peter and James married, Paul and John celibate.

According to early Church history, St. Peter traveled with his wife, who also evangelized the Gospel, and they remained continent. Not sure at what point that started. Before or after Jesus’ death.

Also today in the Roman Rite, Anglican married priests who convert are often dispensed from the discipline of celibacy.

Disciplines of each of the Churches are not like faith beliefs. They can and do change over the centuries and differ amongst the various Catholic Churches.

Elisa on August 26, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Another great convert, G.K. Chesterton had the same observation:

““When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward – in a word, a man. Peter. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”

Elisa on August 26, 2014 at 10:04 AM

Great stuff, thanks for sharing. I need to read some Chesterton.

FishingwFredo on August 26, 2014 at 4:23 PM

. . . . . . . . . That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

Elisa on August 26, 2014 at 10:07 AM

.
G A S P ! ! !
.
“. . . Holier than I . . . ” ? !
.
( s i g h ) . . . . . how humiliating . . . . .

listens2glenn on August 26, 2014 at 5:16 PM