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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

November 10th: St. Leo the Great, pope and doctor of the Church

Gospel text (Mt 16,13-19): When Jesus came to Caesarea Philippi, He asked his disciples, «Who do people say the Son of man is?». They said, «For some of them you are John the Baptist, for others Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets». Jesus asked them, «But you, who do you say I am?». Peter answered, «You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God».

Jesus replied, «It is well for you, Simon Barjona, for it is not flesh or blood that has revealed this to you but my Father in Heaven. And now I say to you: You are Peter (or Rock) and on this rock I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and what you unbind on earth shall be unbound in Heaven».

«It is not flesh or blood that has revealed this to you but my Father in Heaven»

Fr. Vicenç GUINOT i Gómez (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain)

Today we celebrate the sanctity "of one of the greatest pontiffs to have honored the Roman See (...). His pontificate (5th century) lasted for more than 21 years and has been without any doubt one of the most important in the history of the Church "(Benedict XVI). In addition to various actions for peace - protecting Rome from barbarian incursions -, Pontiff St. Leo the Great excelled because his voice was heard at the Council of Chalcedon (. 451) defending Christ’s two natures – human and divine -. The Council fathers acclaimed him by saying: «Peter has spoken through the mouth of Leo».

Today's Gospel is eloquent. Jesus Christ’s question about His own identity shows the Master’s pedagogical refinement. He wants to lead his disciples to a truth which is far away from those human views equating Jesus of Nazareth to one of Judaism great men.

In keeping with his impulsive spirit, Peter quickly responds: "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16:16). Simon is not referring to Jesus as a great man; that would imply saying very little, not telling the truth. He is asserting the divine status of the Man he follows. And Jesus confirms it, while explaining him that his response goes beyond his human capacity: it comes from above! Equally, as his disciples, the same question reaches us: "but what about you, who do you, say I am?’ (Mt 16:15).

Pontiff Leo the Great said that Peter’s profession of faith was the rock upon which the Church rested. Similarly, without the help from above we could not simply be Disciples of Christ. Certainly Jesus is a wonderful man, a spiritual guide, a prophetic voice... but it is necessary to "believe" in Him to become his disciple. Only thus is it possible to become a disciple, on the basis of the faith.

With Peter, we acknowledge our faith in Jesus because, as Pope Francis says «He loves you, He gave his life to save you, and now He is living at your side every day, to enlighten, strengthen and free you».

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