New book from Fr. Rudy.
Click here for
Saints Peter and Paul
June 29, 2008 Year: A
Acts 12:1-11; 2 Tim. 4:6-8, 17-18; Mt. 16:13-19
Great Faith Warriors
"In those days, King Herod laid violent hands upon some
who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of
John, killed with the sword. After he saw that it
pleased some of the people, he proceeded to arrest Peter
also. This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.
When he had seized him, he put him in prison and handed
him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him,
intending to bring him out to the people after the
Passover. While Peter was kept in prison, the church
prayed fervently to God for him.
The very night before Herod was going to bring him out,
Peter, bound with two chains, was sleeping between two
soldiers, while guards in front of the door were keeping
watch over the prison. Suddenly an angel of the Lord
appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter
on the side and woke him, saying, "Get up quickly." And
the chains fell off his wrists.
The angel said to him, "Fasten your belt and put on your
sandals." He did so. Then he said to him, "Wrap your
cloak around you and follow me." Peter went out and
followed him; he did not realize that what was happening
with the angel's help was real; he thought he was seeing
After they had passed the first and the second guard,
they came before the iron gate leading into the city. It
opened for them of its own accord, and they went outside
and walked along a lane, when suddenly the angel left
Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I am sure that
the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the
hands of Herod and from all that the people were
expecting." [Acts 12:1-11]
"As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation,
and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the
good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the
faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will
give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all
who have longed for his appearing.
The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that
through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all
the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the
lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil
attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be
the glory forever and ever. Amen." [2 Tim. 4:6-8, 17-18]
"When Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi,
he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son
of Man is?"
And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, but others
Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon
Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the
And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of
Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,
but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter,
and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates
of Hades will not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and
whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and
whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."
Reflection only on the Gospel
These two saints of quite different in nature were
closely associated with Jesus. One was a friend of Jesus
and another became a friend after long years of
persecution of Christians.
was an interesting fellow. He would be the first to tell
you, "I love the Lord! Nothing I wouldn’t do for
Him! Do I need to fight for Him? I'll do it! Do I need
to go to jail for Him? I'll do it! Do I need to die for
Him? I'll do it!!" When Jesus came walking on the
water during the storm, who was it that walked out to
join Him? He was Peter! When the
soldiers came for Christ at Gethsemane, who was it that
pulled out his sword and cut off the ear of Malchus?
Again Peter! Who was it that denied he
knew the Lord Jesus three times the night they arrested
Him? Peter. But who was it that Jesus
told to feed His lambs? Good Peter!
Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he
asked his disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I am?"
And they said, "Some say that you are John the Baptist:
some, Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the
prophets." He said to them, "what do you say I am?" And
Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the
Son of the living God." And Jesus answered and said unto
him, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and
blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who
is in heaven. And I say also to thee, that thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and
the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I
will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and
whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in
heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall
be loosed in heaven."
"Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona." Happy, to be
congratulated. It's the same word Jesus uses in the
Beatitudes. "You are to be congratulated, Simon
Barjona, because you did not come up with this on your
own, but my Father in heaven showed you this!" What
does Jesus say to him in verse 23? "Get
behind Me Satan!" Peter had it…almost.
was not written in English. The New Testament was
written in Greek. And when we study a passage that some
people may disagree on, the best thing to do is go back
and read what the writers originally said in Greek.
First, let's look at the
name "Simon" in verse 17. That's a name
that means, "hearer."
It also means "a wavering reed," or simply "a
waverer." But I found this definition and it was
like a light bulb went off and we'll see why in a
moment. The name "Simon" can also mean, "sand-like."
Why is this important? Look at verse 18.
There are 4 different Greek words - and one Aramaic - in
the Bible that gets translated as stone. Jesus uses two
of them in this verse when He talks about rocks and
looks at the wavering sand and says, "Thou art
Peter." The Greek word is "Petros." It means "a
stone." It can even mean "a large stone."
The best definition I found is, "a detached but
large fragment of rock." Now, doesn’t the
definition of "Simon" as "sand-like" mean a
little bit more? "Blessed art thou, sand…thou art a
stone." I don’t have the exact numbers, but Jesus
refers to Simon Peter in different ways at different
times. Sometimes He calls him "Simon." Sometimes He
calls him "Peter." Sometimes He calls him "Simon Peter."
In John 1 He calls him "Cephas." We'll
see why this is important later.
"Thou art Peter." Then
Jesus says, "…and upon this Rock…" He uses a different
word—petra. Here's the difference. The word "petros"
means "a stone." The word "petra" means "a
large, projecting rock," or "a large boulder,"
or even "rocky
ground, a bluff, bedrock."
Let me give you an example of the difference. The word "petra"
is used 13 times in the New Testament. Listen to how it
is used in several verses:
Matthew 7:24; Luke 6:48—both
of these record the words of Jesus saying, "Therefore
whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I
will compare him unto a wise man, who built his house
upon a rock (petra): And the rain descended, and the
floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that
house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock (petra)."
You cannot build a house on a stone. You have to build
it on solid rock. Bedrock.
Matthew 27:59-60; Mark 15:46—Joseph
of Arimathea took the body of Jesus down from the cross,
wrapped him in linen, and laid him in a sepulcher which
was hewn out of a rock (petra), and rolled a stone unto
the door of the sepulcher. Now you cannot build a tomb
out of a stone, even a large stone. This "petra"
was the rock that made up the hill where He was buried.
it is written, Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone
and rock (petra) of offense: and whosoever believeth on
him shall not be ashamed.
1st Corinthians 10:4—…they
drank of that spiritual Rock (petra) that followed them:
and that Rock (petra) was Christ.
1st Peter 2:8—And
a stone of stumbling, and a rock (petra) of offence,
even to them which stumble at the word, being
Every time the word the word "petra" is used, it is used
of rock that is part of the earth. The rock which makes
up the hills and mountains. The rock which is underneath
the grass and dirt, upon which everything sits.
Now, let's look at the
word "Petros." This word is used 162 times in the New
Testament. Guess how many times it is translated
"stone"? Once. The other 161 times, it is used as a name
for Peter. It is never used to describe something on
which a building, or a house, or—especially—a church
could be built on. Because that's not what it means. It
would build His church
upon the "petra." The solid Rock in which all things
consist, by which all things are held together. Jesus
Christ, our Lord, our Savior, our Petra.
now for the keys. These "keys of the kingdom of
heaven"—does not mean that Peter is the head of the
The verb "bind" is in the
perfect tense. It happened in the past, and its effects
continue. This is one of those places where the King
James Version doesn’t quite say it the best way.
Matthew 16:19—"I will give you the keys of the
kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth
shall have been bound in heaven, and
whatever you loose on earth shall have been
loosed in heaven." In other words Jesus is
allow or prohibit on earth will have already been
allowed or prohibited in Heaven."
He was not giving them the authority to bind and loosen.
He was giving them the ability to determine whether
something should be bound or loosened.
Peter was a
Verses 15-16 —
He said unto them, "But who say that I am?" And Simon
Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son
of the living God." We don’t really hear a whole lot
about Peter's brother Andrew. But it was Andrew that led
Peter to Christ. Andrew was a disciple of John the
Baptist. He had been following John for quite some time,
and the day when Jesus came to that John to be baptized,
and the skies opened and the Holy Spirit came down and
the voice called out, "This is My Beloved Son in whom I
am well pleased," Andrew was probably there. It's not
clearly spelled out, but from reading the passage —
John 1:35-41 — you could reasonably
assume that he was there. And the next day, Jesus comes
to them again, and tells Andrew "Follow Me." Then, in
John 1:40-42, it says, One of the two
who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew,
Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother
Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah"
(which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to
Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, "You are
Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas."
is Aramaic for "a stone." But something else I
want you to notice is that Jesus says "You are Simon son
of Jonah." Remember that. I mentioned earlier the
significance of names. Now, about that name "Cephas."
Stone. What had Peter done up to this point to earn this
type of attention from Christ? Nothing. He was a
fisherman. He was minding his nets. Minding his own
But not Simon son of
Jonah. He kept it in his mind, meditated on it, kept
holding on to that until Christ came back. Then, the day
Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren,
Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a
net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he said
unto them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of
men." And they straightway left their nets, and followed
him. Peter had faith enough to know that when Jesus
says, "Let's go," we can’t delay. There's no, "Let
me go bury my father first." Peter left his nets,
left the only thing he ever knew. He left the comfort
and security of a good living being a fisherman to
follow this man who didn’t even have a roof over His
head. Jesus did not live in a big mansion. Yet Peter
left it all, and followed Him. He was a MAN OF FAITH.
New book from Fr. Rudy :
Short review of the book: This book is an out come of a
serious exegetical study on the important words and
texts from the writings of St John of the Cross. The
study deals with a short life and writings of the mystic
and then does a complete study on GOD, MAN and WAYS to
EXPERIENCE GOD. The book is available at: St. Joseph
Church, Near Holy Cross Convent School, Mira Road East,
Thane Dt. Maharashtra State - 401 107, India. Books can
be ordered through email:
The cost of the book is Rs.
125/- pp.xviii + 234, The Title of the Book is: THE
DYNAMISM OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH - An Exegetical Study on
St. John of the Cross, author: Dr. Rudolf V. D' Souza,
OCD, MA. PhD.
Dear friend, my
homilies will be posted on Thursdays and you can benefit
them and if you need more resources, you could contact
Let us make this ministry
fruitful one so that the Word of God becomes a source of
joy for me and for you and help people become more aware
of its riches. You are also welcome to share your
feedback with me. Thanks and God bless.