Our Great Journey
Lord, Jesus Christ, In your holy face, we see God. Help us to keep our eyes always fixed on you, so that in everything we do we may be pleasing to you. May we love you and follow you all the way to God’s kingdom, where you live and reign with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In addition to our prayers from the heart, our prayer for August is the Sign of the Cross and the Our Father. Please pray these prayers daily to learn them.
Invite a family member to read the Gospel aloud.
Things to talk about:
- What are the most important qualities a leader must possess?
- What is the importance of Jesus calling Peter “the rock” on which he would build his Church?
- Who do you say that Jesus is?
Things to do:
- Did you know? … that the keys of St. Peter are an image of two crossed keys representing the ones that Jesus says he is giving to Peter. The image of these keys appears in the coat of arms of the Vatican. Almost all of the popes’ coat of arms since the Middle Ages have included the image of St. Peter’s keys. Locate the papal flag in the foyer. Look at our Transfiguration window in the Church. Peter’s keys are around his waist. For older children, introduce the word, “magisterium,” the teaching authority of the Church to give authentic interpretation of the Word of God.
- If you haven’t already, create a home prayer space with a cloth representing the liturgical calendar (currently green for ordinary time), a candle, a Bible, rosary and any other sacramental items you’d like to add. Most churches have a gold and white flag of Vatican City on their grounds. The white band of the flag contains the papal coat of arms which contains the keys of Peter and the papal tiara. These keys represent the keys to the kingdom of heaven mentioned in today’s Gospel. See if you can find the Vatican City flag in your church. Draw a papal flag to add to your prayer table.
- As a family, make a list of people you know who stopped going to church or have never attended church. Each day this week, pray for these people by name so that they may be converted to Christ. Add their names on the back of the papal flag and remember to pray for them.
This Gospel clarifies who Jesus is. Jesus asks his closest friends to tell him who they think he is. They tell him what other people are saying. Peter, though, identifies Jesus as the Messiah — the holy one sent by God to redeem the people. Jesus recognizes that Peter could not have identified him so definitely were it not for the power of God within him. The truth about Jesus would not become clear until after the Resurrection. Jesus realizes that the presence of the Holy Spirit in Peter is strong.
Jesus appoints Peter as the first leader — the first pope — of the Catholic Church. The “keys of the kingdom” Jesus gives to Peter is the authority to lead the People of God after Jesus ascends to the Father. Peter is not perfect; all the Gospels point out Peter’s failings during the passion account. But Peter has the humility to allow God to strengthen, support, and work through him.
We are called to be Jesus’ disciples; we need to think about who Jesus is for us in our own lives. How do you answer Jesus’ question, “But who do YOU say that I am?”
Song for this week: Matt Maher, You know who I am
For our kids, a short video about Matthew 16:13-20