These 12 words from this weekend’s reading may have led to the creation of more theology, more dogmatic discussion and disputes than any other passage in the New Testament.
What is interesting is that this story is one of the few that is documented in all four of the Gospel’s ( although in a different setting in John) and it is often called Peter’s Confession of the Christ.
It is only in Matthew, however, that we find these 12 words-“You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church…”
I have decided not to try to delve to deeply into what Christ meant when he used the word church- notice it is a small “c” at least in my Bible. (Click here to Listen to Fr. Barron’s homily this week for some insight on this aspect of the readings.)
I would like to use this homily to examine what it means to be a follower of the Christ, to be His disciple and hence a member of His church. I have used the material presented by Fr. Richard Rohr and Fr. Ron Rolheiser as the basis for developing a list of non-negotiables for becoming a faithful servant of the Christ.
Here is my take on at least four teachings (there are more to be sure) that appear to be non-negotiable:
- It all starts with a faith, an unshakable belief that we are the beloved of God;
- Following Christ’s teachings on Love of- God/Self/Neighbor/ & Enemy;
- Understanding and practicing the wisdom of Forgiveness as taught by Jesus;
- Building a community that is inclusive of all.
It seems to me that these are the essential building blocks for the foundation of any church that wants to claim to have Christ as its head.