First Reading: NM 20:1-13
Responsorial Psalm: PS 95:1-2, 6-7, 8-9
“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18
This part of today’s Gospel stuck with me and gave me hope. The world around us can be a scary place. I avoid watching the news because too often I see way more stories that break my heart than ones that lift me up. Just this week, there was news of two shootings within 24 hours. We receive a constant stream of bad news coming in, even within the Church. Scandal, brokenness, and hardship are all around us and it can be defeating to receive such an influx of bad news.
There is no doubt that the world around us is messy, broken, and difficult to take a look at. There is so much good in the world, but sometimes it can feel as though the bad outweighs the good. But wherever we find ourselves, Jesus gives us the truth that the gates of the netherworld will not prevail. Jesus Christ has overcome and has already won for us by His Passion and Resurrection. No matter what the world around us looks like, we can trust that Jesus has already overcome every obstacle or hardship we might find ahead.
In the Gospels, I love looking at the person of Peter because so often I can relate to Peter. I deny Jesus or rebuke Him as Peter does in today’s gospel. But it gives me hope to see that Jesus entrusted Peter, a sinner and broken man, with the task of being the first leader to build up His Church. The Lord trusted Peter even though He knew that Peter would deny Him three times. The gates of the netherworld didn’t prevail back then at the Crucifixion, and they won’t start now.
God can do anything, and He isn’t anxious about the problems or brokenness present in the world today. He isn’t stressed about the state of the Church or worried about what the next news headline will be tomorrow. God can do anything, even use messy people like you and me to build His kingdom. If God can heal, transform, and bring new life to barren places, He won’t stop now for such a time as this. Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.