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Brother 15th September 2017 03:30 PM

Why Catholic ?

There are many reasons why a Christian ought to be Catholic and in this series of posts, I’m going to mention some. This is a continuation from the thread called “Why Christian?”, so for a background to this thread, I recommend you to read that post if you haven’t already done so.

Also the post “Why Believe in God?”

As followers of Jesus, or any man or woman of good will, we are all seeking truth, and what is truth? Jesus Christ Himself is Truth (John 14:6), so let’s seek that Truth with sincere heart and mind.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8 ).

As mentioned at the beginning of the previous post, a Christian is the person who follows Jesus. It was at Antioch where the followers of Jesus were first called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). Christianity, by the way, regards as to the group of people who follow Jesus. Now, those who follow Jesus, follow “The Way” for He Himself said “I’m the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). He is the way of salvation: “this girl, following Paul and us, was crying out, saying: “These men are servants of the Most High God! They are announcing to you the way of salvation!” (Acts 16:17); so the term for where to go in order to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ was called “The Way” since the early years (Acts 18:25-26), or “The Way of the Lord” (Acts 19:9) (Acts 19:23), for through Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father.

But Jesus Christ (who is the Way) founded a Church for His followers (the Christians) so that they may not be abandoned when He had to leave this world in His human nature (Matthew 9:36). Therefore, by His own authority, He selected some men (He selected only twelve Apostles among His disciples) in order for them to guide or pasture the rest of His flock (Mat 16:18-29) (Matt 18:18 ) (Luke 6:13-16) (Luke 9:1) (1 Tes 2:7), and so that, through His Church, His Good News shall continue to be preached to all the world (Mark 16:15) from generations to generations until the consummation of age (Matt 28:19-20).

What is a Church? A Church refers to a convocation or assembly united in prayer, creed, worship, obedience; and can also refer to a building erected for purposes of worship by their members.

So, if Jesus Christ founded a Church, is the Catholic Church THE Church that He founded? This is what we are going to honestly see in these series of posts. If you seek the Truth, you seek Jesus Christ.

“O Lord, I have loved the beauty of your house and the dwelling place of your glory.” (Psalm 26 [27]:8 ).

“Father, I will that where I am, those whom you have given to me may also be with me, so that they may see my glory which you have given to me...” (John 17:24)

Will continue...

Brother 21st September 2017 04:27 PM

“If anyone serves me, let him follow me. And where I am, there too my minister shall be. If anyone has served me, my Father will honor him.” (John 12:26).

The passage where Jesus Christ clearly teaches that He was going to build a Church we find it in Matthew 16:17-19:

{16:17} And in response, Jesus said to him: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father, who is in heaven.
{16:18} And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.
{16:19} And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven.”

Now, let’s not only read this passage as 21st century Americans, but as early 1st century Jews.

Jesus generally spoke Jewish Palestinian Aramaic, the common language of Judea in the first century A.D.

The Bible itself has references that Jesus’ primary and common language was Aramaic and this is even written in the Greek translated version of the Sacred text.

“Talitha koumi”:
“And taking the girl by the hand, he said to her, “Talitha koumi,” which means, “Little girl, (I say to you) arise.” (Mark 5:41).

“And gazing up to heaven, He groaned and said to him: “Ephphatha,” which is, “Be opened.” (Mark 7:34).

“And he said: “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you….” (Mark 14:36).

Some Romans and perhaps not Hebraic descent Jews (not Aramaic speaking Jews) thought that Jesus was calling upon prophet Elijah when He said the Aramaic words “Eli Eli….” on the Cross (Matthew 27:46-47).

This is an indication that Jesus’ common language was Aramaic. Now, He can also have spoken Hebrew especially when reading the Scriptures at the synagogues because the Jewish Scriptures were written in Hebrew, their faith language, though they (the Jews) spoke mainly in Aramaic. Jesus may have also spoken in Latin (the Roman’s language) in cases such as when He talked with Pontius Pilate or any Roman. He may have spoken some Greek but to a lesser extent, or sporadically, because His ministry was aimed mainly at the Hebraic Jews (Matthew 15:26), and they, by the way, did not get along with the Greek speaking Jews (non Hebraic descent Jews) (Acts 21:27-28 ). But when Jesus spoke privately with His fellow Apostles, or spoke directed at them, He would not be speaking in a language foreign to them, or with a language that the majority of them might not understand, something other than Aramaic with perhaps some Hebrew included, which by the way, are similar languages. Out the twelve Apostles, the most learned during Jesus’ three year ministry might have been Matthew who was a tax collector working for the Romans and Jews so he was literate, fluent and able to write in Latin as well, but the rest were just working class, and fishermen Jews. Jesus did not choose “high class” among His Apostles, and the Apostle Simon specifically, was a fisherman.

That being said, though Matthew may have written his Gospel in Hebrew (the Torah language of Scriptures) for his fellow Jews converts to Christianity; however, when Jesus gathered the twelve at Caesarea Philippi in order to teach that He was going to build His Church, He spoke in Aramaic to them, the language that all twelve can clearly understand at that time especially regarding such important announcement.

{16:18} And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.

The English translation of the text diminish somehow what the Apostles heard from Jesus saying.

Speaking in Aramaic, Jesus used a play of words and it was more like:

“And I say to you (Simon), that you are [Kepha], and upon this [Kepha] I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”.

Which is like saying:

“And I say to you (Simon), that you are [Rock], and upon this [Rock] I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”.

Notice that Jesus changes the name of the Apostle Simon only, from Simon to Kepha which means “Rock” (name translated to “Peter” in English). When God changes the name of a person, it means a new path/function in this person's life, such as in the cases of Abram to Abraham, or Jacob to Israel. So this name change does has a meaning and purpose for this particular Apostle. He does not change the name of any of the other Apostles, only to Simon, so this disregards any idea that Jesus gave the exact same calling, equal role, or non-distinctive role to all the twelve.

Brother 6th October 2017 06:16 PM

Now, Jesus Christ is the Rock which the builders rejected (Acts 4:10-11) (1 Peter 2:7) (1 Cor 10:4), He is our Cornerstone, our Main Rock, no doubt about it. But it was Jesus Himself who decided build His Church upon the truth of one of His Apostles by changing his name from Simon to “Rock” (Peter in English) after this Apostle proclaimed that He is the Messiah “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16) by a revelation from the Father Himself (16:17). Therefore, our Lord Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone and Peter is the Rock upon which the Cornerstone, or our Main Rock, built His own Church. Prior to that, Jesus explains of how a man needs to build his house over a rock, not over sand, so that his house will stand still and will not go down when the winds or floods come. When Jesus was teaching this at the end of His sermon on the mount, He did not teach or implied that this particular rock on which the house is built is the same person building the house (Matt 7:24-27), (Luke 6:48:49).

Notice that Jesus gives this charge as a custodian of His Church to Simon because God has revealed him a truth, that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Similarly, the Pharaoh entrusted Joseph (the O.T. Joseph) a charge only subordinate to himself because God has revealed to Joseph the correct interpretation of the Pharaoh’s dreams: “Therefore, he [the Pharaoh] said to Joseph: “Because God has revealed to you all that you have said, would I be able to find anyone wiser and as much like you? You will be over my house, and to the authority of your mouth, all the people will show obedience. Only in one way, in the throne of the kingdom, will I go before you.” And again, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Behold, I have appointed you over the entire land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:39-41).

The claim made by some Protestants that Jesus may have been speaking in “Greek” to these Hebraic working class descent Jews is not supportable. Greek was a later translation of the Bible, not the language that Jesus was speaking to the Apostles for the above mentioned reasons. They claim that Jesus did not called the Apostle Simon with the Aramaic word Kepha, but with the Greek word “Petros” so that they can say that Jesus did not built His Church on the Apostle Peter but on another rock, a feminine noun called “Petra” which refers to a bigger kind of rock that can be pointed at Jesus Himself. But with this hypothesis, why would Jesus change the name of the Apostle Simon to “Rock” in the first place? It doesn’t make any sense, it is like saying “I’m changing your name to “Rock”, but I’m going to build my Church on a bigger Rock, Myself”. Jesus would not try to fool or mock or confuse not even His closes friends, and what’s more, during an important announcement such as this. But the truth is that the Bible itself teaches the contrary, even before Jesus said this declaration at Caesarea Philippi, the Apostle John (one of the twelve who were present there) explains and makes it clear in his own Gospel that Simon was to be called Kepha or “Cephas” (as English transliterations state it), not “Petros”. The following is from the Gospel of John 1:42: “And he led him to Jesus. And Jesus, gazing at him, said: “You are Simon, son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas,” (which is translated as Peter).” - English translation of John 1:42. Jesus said that to Simon even since the beginning of His ministry when He was calling Simon to be one of His Apostles, way before His declaration at Caesarea Philippi.

And even the Greek version of the Bible itself, John 1:42 reads the following:

“Su ei Simon ho huios Ioannou, su klethese Kephas (ho hermeneuetai Petros)”
“ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν. ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, Σὺ εἶ Σίμων ὁ υἱὸς Ἰωάννου: σὺ κληθήσῃ Κηφᾶς {ὃ ἑρμηνεύεται Πέτρος}”.
“Thou art Simon the son of John, thou shalt be called Kephas (which is translated Peter)”.

So this makes it clear enough that Jesus did not called Simon “Petros”, but in His spoken Aramaic language, Kepha. And the mention of the Apostle Simon as “Kepha” or “Cephas” (as the transliteration states it) continue to be indicated in St. Paul’s letters which can even be read in the English translations of the Bible (1 Cor 1:12) (1 Cor 3:22) (1 Cor 9:5) (1 Cor 15:5) (Gal 2:9). Even the King James Bible says “Cephas” (the English transliteration). English translations leave Peter’s name here with original Aramaic transliterating it to “Cephas” to show how his name sounded; therefore, there is no doubt that Peter is the “Rock” on which Jesus’ Church was founded. “Kephas” or “Cephas” is the Rock on which Jesus wanted to build His Church and it is how He originally said it.

Brother 17th October 2017 06:44 PM

Jesus is the Owner of the Church, He says “MY” Church, Peter is not the owner, he was appointed to be the custodian of our Lord’s one and only Church, for He also says “My Church”, not “My Churches”.

Why does our Lord build a Church? We can see it just a few verses earlier:

{16:13} Then Jesus went into parts of Caesarea Philippi. And he questioned his disciples, saying, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?”
{16:14} And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, and others say Elijah, still others say Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
{16:15} Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
{16:16} Simon Peter responded by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
{16:17} And in response, Jesus said to him: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father, who is in heaven.

At this point Jesus has been teaching the Good News in the synagogues, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, performing great miracles among the people, confronting the Pharisees and the Sadducees and great crowds have been following Him through His travels of the region (Matt 4:23-25). Jesus has also sent His Apostles to do likewise (10:5 on). After this, Jesus brings His Apostles to Caesarea Philippi, He is going to have an important meeting with them in order to ask them a very significant question: “Who do men say that the Son of man is?”. They responded that some say “John the Baptist” – Incorrect. Others that, “Elijah” – Incorrect. Others, “Jeremiah or one of the prophets” – again, incorrect. So people were wondering around giving their own opinion of who Jesus is. Groups had their own versions of Jesus, they were saying nice things about Him but they were mistaken, they did not hold the Truth. So, knowing that He was going to physically stop walking on this earth for many years, and in order to avoid incorrect teachings among people, in order for people of all generations to hold to His True Doctrine, He builds His Church, and for this reason His Church must be indefectible. When Jesus then asks the Apostles “But who do you say that I am?” Peter is the first (and only one) to respond and says: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” No creature had told him this, it was God Himself (the Father) who revealed this infallible truth to Peter. Therefore Jesus responds:

“And I say to you, that you are Peter [Kepha], and upon this rock [Kepha] 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 whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven.” (Matt 16:18-19).

The Church will be guided by God Himself until the end of time holding Jesus’ true doctrine: “Therefore, go forth and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have ever commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, even to the consummation of the age.” (Matt 29:29-20). Jesus does not say “I’ll be with you but as long as you behave well, if not I will leave you” No. He says, “I’m with you ALWAYS” because Peter has received the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven from God Himself.

Why do you think the Pharaoh appointed Joseph (as mentioned above) over the entire land of Egypt? It was because he knew that God was with Joseph. Only by a revelation from God is that Joseph was able to correctly interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams with certainty, in other words, infallibly. So the Pharaoh knew that God was going to guide Joseph administrating his land, and when the Pharaoh is appointing Joseph as his administrator over the entire land of Egypt, see what he does:

{41:42} And he took the ring from his own hand, and he gave it into his hand. And he clothed him with a robe of fine linen, and he placed a necklace of gold around his neck.

Taking his ring from his own hand and giving it to Joseph is a sign of giving authority, as well as of clothing him with a robe of fine linen and a necklace of gold on his neck.

Similarly, Jesus says to Peter: “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven.”

The Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven belong to God, but He gives them to Peter as a sign of giving him authority.

The words: “whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven” echo Isaiah 22:22 that says: “And when he opens, no one will close. And when he closes, no one will open”. The keys of the house of David were given to Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah in order to take care of this house and also this giving away of the keys is a sign of giving authority in order to guard the house.

{22:20} And this shall be in that day: I will call my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah.
{22:21} And I will clothe him with your vestment, and I will strengthen him with your belt, and I will give your authority to his hand. And he shall be like a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.
{22:22} And I will place the key of the house of David upon his shoulder. And when he opens, no one will close. And when he closes, no one will open.
{22:23} And I will fasten him like a peg in a trustworthy place. And he will be upon a throne of glory in the house of his father.

Here Eliakim is being appointed as the successor of Shebna who was in charge of the Temple (22:15), by receiving the proper vestments, belt and keys of the house of David, so here we know that this particular position is of authority and has/requires succession.

Scriptures tells us that the role of Eliakim is to become a “Father” to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. So, when Jesus gives Peter the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, it is so that he becomes a “Father” figure for all nations, for His Church is Universal. God is the creator of the Universe, thus His Church must be Universal. The Kingdom of Heaven is available to all, for everyone. So here we see that the role of Peter was appointed to be the first man in charge of Jesus’ Universal Church.

The words “whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven” also have a resemblance of what God told Abraham:

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and magnify your name, and you will be blessed. I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you, and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” (Genesis 3: 2-3).

The fulfillment of the promise that God made to Abraham is Jesus Christ who, in turn, gives the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven to the man that He has appointed to be in charge of His Church, His Vicar, while He is away walking on this earth with words of similar connotations “whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven and whatever you shall release on earth shall be released, even in heaven”. These words are a promise, also a prophecy, that His Church will always remain indefectible, that is She cannot err to the extent of teaching heresy which is a teaching contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ, or past dogmatic teachings, otherwise, the gates of Hell would have prevailed because this “heretical” teaching will be leading Jesus’ faithful away from the path of salvation.

An analogy of what teaching heresy can cause: 'Someone tells that X link brings to the Vatican website where people can learn how one can be saved, but if that link has at least one letter wrong of the Vatican website, that link can instead bring people to another website, a pornographic website where souls sin mortally, lose the state of grace and are headed to end up in Hell'. In this case, the gates of Hell have been opened and prevailed. A situation like this can never happen with Jesus Church teachings because Jesus made a promise and the Holy Spirit guides His Church (John 16:12-13). Jesus made this promise and He cannot err because He is God, Jesus cannot lie (which is worst), for the same reason that He is God. Therefore, His Church will always remain teaching true doctrine.

In a counter-actual hypothetical, If Peter or one of his successors teaches a heresy, Jesus would be in the impossible situation that this heretical teaching will need to be bound in Heaven, per His own words, and if He doesn’t do it, He would be left as a liar. Therefore, this cannot happen under any circumstance because Jesus is Truth (John 14:6). Similarly, the teachings of the Magisterium of His Church, Peter and the Apostles in communion with Peter and their respective successors (Matt 18:18 ).

We have a place to trust of sane doctrine that comes from God which is Jesus' own Church, His Universal Church. He gave His word and we trust Him.

Brother 24th October 2017 04:58 PM

Some people say that the role of the main guardian of Jesus’ Church was not given to Peter because a few passages later, Jesus rebukes Peter by saying: “Get behind me, Satan; you are an obstacle to me. For you are not behaving according to what is of God, but according to what is of men.” (Matt 16:23). But this claim (and similar ones that’ we’ll see later) doesn’t support the idea that Peter was not the main person in charge of Jesus’ Church as we’ll see next. First, at Caesarea Philippi Jesus said to Peter and the Apostles: “I WILL build My Church” (Matt: 16:18 ). He doesn’t say “I’m building My Church as of right now”. His Church starts to run with Peter as the main guardian of Jesus’ Church after our Lord’s final instructions which are done after His resurrection and goes up to the Father. When the Owner of the House goes out, it is there when the appointed person takes charge and starts his functions as keeper of the House until the Owner’s return. Similar as when a person is hired for a job, and the hired person starts doing the job sometime later to replace someone else. So, Peter’s position “officially” starts to flourish when the Holy Spirit prompts the Apostles to go and announce the Gospel which happens at Pentecost (Acts 1:12 on). It was at this very day when the Church appeared before the world.

Also, Jesus leaves His Church with weak fallen men in charge (Peter and the Apostles) this actually glorifies God rather than diminishes His institution. The fact that the Catholic Church is still standing since Her foundation is a sign that the Church does not depend on mere fallen humans but on God and that Jesus’ promises are being indeed fulfilled because the Holy Spirit keeps, guards and guides Her (John 16:12-13).

Through the history of salvation, God has appointed weak group of people such as the Israelite who were slaves in Egypt, weak persons and sinners to be in charge of important positions and assignments, we see the cases of Moses who had difficulty speaking (Exodus 4:10). David who committed adultery with Bathsheba and then sent her husband, Uriah, to the front line of war so he can be killed (2 Samuel 11:14-15). Jonah who ran away from the Lord (Jonah 1:1-3). Prophet Jeremiah who considered himself wicked cursing himself and the day that he was born (Jer 20:14-15) even though God has chosen him to be His prophet (Jer 1:5). St. Paul considers himself the least of the Apostles because he persecuted His Church (1 Corinthians 15:9), just to name a few. We see how despite their weaknesses and sins, the Lord accomplished great things through these persons.

Now, regarding Peter, after our Lord declared that He was going to built His Church upon the Rock Peter, Satan uses this same person in order to tempt our Lord. Satan uses our reason in order to tempt us, to get away from the plan that God has for our lives. Since this devil knows that it is impossible to prevail by going it directly to Jesus, who is God, he goes to one of His closest friends who, like all of us on this earth, is a fallen weak human. Satan knows that Peter loves Jesus, and that he wants what is best for our Lord, but in Peter’s limited understanding up to this point, he doesn’t grasp well the plan that God has for our salvation. So when Jesus tells His Apostles that He has to suffer much, to be killed and then resurrect, Satan tempts Peter using his reason in order to tell our Lord that He doesn’t need to suffer. This is pretty much the same temptation we all still get from the devil, “why suffer?”, “The plan that God has for our lives is not good, we can do better”, etc. So Peter goes on to say: “Lord, may it be far from you; this shall not happen to you.” (Matt 16:22). By the way, this limited understanding of God’s plan of salvation, not only Peter had it, ALL of the Apostles didn’t understand well God’s plan for our salvation up to this point - the difference is that Peter is the one who talks, the others remain quiet, but all the Apostles didn’t understand well the plan that God has for the redemption of the world. We can see this misunderstanding when the Apostles misinterpret Jesus teachings regarding to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, they understood that Jesus was talking about literal leaven to make bread, but our Lord had to re-explain it to them so they can get right what He was saying (Matt 16:5-12) (Mark 8:13-21). The limited understanding of Peter in particular up to that point is also seen in the Upper Room (or Cenacle) when Peter doesn’t want Jesus to wash his feet (John 13:6-9), or when Peter strikes the ear of one of the servant of the high priest when our Lord was taken prisoner (John 18:10-11). Peter does all these things thinking is the right thing to do and because he loves our Lord, but in those situations he ignores the whole picture of God’s plan for salvation. When Jesus replies “Get behind from me Satan….” He was actually recriminating the fallen angel called Satan, who succeeded in tempting Peter, to go away. Jesus is God so He was able to see Satan present, but we as the rest of the Apostles there, can only see Jesus recriminating Peter. Yes, Peter was also recriminated for falling in this temptation, but Jesus wanted Satan and his tactics to go away, not the person of Peter. St. Paul teaches us that our battle is NOT against flesh and blood (meaning human persons), but against the principalities and powers, the world of darkness and evil spirits (Ephesians 6:12). Jesus obviously wanted Peter to continue following Him.

This actually reinforces the notion that the gates of Hell cannot prevail against Jesus' Church founded on the Rock, Peter (Matt 16:18-19) and that Satan is going to attack Peter but not able to prevail against His Church because of Jesus' prayer exclusively for Peter so that his faith does not fail (Luke 22:32). Here Satan attacks Peter, tempts him, falls for it, but Jesus corrects Him in order to go the correct Way.

If Adam would have replied similarly to Eve when she gave him to eat of the forbidden fruit, things have been different, but “O Felix Culpa!” “Oh happy fault” that made us bring the Redeemer!

Brother 1st November 2017 06:09 PM

The Apostles later learned love for greater things more than this passing world, valuing higher goods over lesser goods accordingly (1 John 2:15-17).

Another objection that some people have regarding the primacy of Peter is that when the Apostles were in the Upper Room (or Cenacle), they were discussing about who seems to be the greater (Luke 22:24-38 ). They say that if Peter was appointed as the “leader” of the Apostles, then they wouldn’t be having this particular discussion. But taking this passage in context, we can see that the Apostles were actually discussing about who seems to be greater for the Kingdom of God (in Heaven), not on this earth, not for a determined role or position on this earth. Jesus was just recently talking about the Kingdom of God (Luke 22:16 . 18 ) and then He continued to be talking about this Kingdom of God (Luke 22:29-30). But even if they were talking about who is greater on earth, Jesus confirms Peter as the main guardian of His Church right in front of them, right after this discussion (in case they still haven’t understood), we know this by reading just a few verses later when Jesus says: “Simon, Simon! Behold, Satan has asked for all of you, so that he may sift you [all] like wheat. But I have prayed for you, so that your faith may not fail, and so that you, once converted, may confirm your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32). Notice that Satan has asked to sift each of the Apostles (and thus His Church) like wheat, and perhaps that was already happening because of that particular discussion, but Jesus says that He has prayed specifically for the Apostle Simon/Peter in particular so that his faith will not fail and once turned back or converted, he will strengthen or confirm his brothers. This is because Peter has the role of leadership in His Church, and our Lord said this right in front of the Apostles who were present there having the previous discussion. Why wouldn’t Jesus pray for all the Apostles in order to have a never failing faith, but instead He has prayed only for the Apostle Peter? – again, it is because all the Apostles do not have the same role as Peter. Only Peter has been left in primary charge of His Church. When our Lord to says: “once turned back or converted”, this is after he receives the strength of the Holy Spirit which happens at Pentecost (this strengthening of the Holy Spirit happens at Pentecost (Acts 2:4) after Jesus has gone up to the Father, it is here when he is the one in charge to strengthen and confirm his brother in the faith). The Holy Spirit strengthens us (Ephesians 3:16) (Romans 8:26).

At this point in time Peter and the Apostles have not been strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit which takes place later at Pentecost because despite their good intentions or desire to follow the Lord, they were still weak and afraid. Without the strength of the Holy Spirit is that Peter fails to accomplish his word. Without the supernatural grace of the Gospels filling us, we can't fulfill the covenant between us and God. Peter tells our Lord that he is prepared to go with Him even to prison and death (by his own strength that is) but ends up denying Him three times just as our Lord prophesied (Luke 22:33-34). This is to makes us realize that it is not by our human strength alone to follow our Lord as He wills, but it is on the strength and grace received by the Holy Spirit that we can be made perfect.

Many say, “ah yeah, but Peter denied our Lord three times” – but let’s ask ourselves a question, what about me? How many times have we denied our Lord with sins? Does this make us unavailable to follow our Lord?, of course not, the Lord still desires us to be with Him. Despite our sinfulness we can still repent and do great things for Him by following His plan in our lives. Also, people tend to recriminate Peter alone, but what about the rest of the Apostles? – Peter at least tried to follow our Lord to His trial, as he said. He failed, yes, but at least he tried. The other Apostles ran away and hid, they didn’t even bother to appear while Jesus was being tried. St. John appeared later when Jesus was already in His way to Calvary. So, all the Apostles were still weak at this point.

Brother 1st November 2017 06:09 PM

Despite these three negations due to Peter’s weakness, after our Lord’s resurrection, He once again confirms Peter in his primary role in His Church, right in front of the Apostles. He has not changed His mind.

{21:15} Then, when they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
{21:16} He said to him again: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
{21:17} He said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was very grieved that he had asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” And so he said to him: “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my sheep.

When “they” had dined, meaning Jesus reunited with His Apostles, Jesus asks Peter “do you love more than these?” This could have been an awkward situation for Peter because they were together at this moment, and if he says “yes, I love you more than these”, it would be kind of boasting about himself by affirming that he loves our Lord more than the rest of the Apostles, but instead, Peter humbly responds “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you”, it is like saying, “Yes, Lord, I love you” but he didn’t add the “more than these”. Then notice our Lord’s response “Feed my lambs”. He calls “lambs” to His Apostles because their role is to represent Him and be in direct imitation of Jesus Christ (John 20:21), to be the ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) of He who is - THE ‘Lamb’ of God - (John 1:26) (1 Peter 1:19) whose commission is to be THE Good Shepherd (John 10:14); therefore, Jesus’ Apostles are also called lambs and shepherds.

Jesus’ second question to Peter is general with a simple “Do you love me?”. This time without specifying if more than anyone else. Peter responds “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” And here once again our Lords has the same response “Feed my lambs”. Since this second question was general, this “Feed my lambs” refers to all His shepherds in general which applies to all generations.

Then, because of the importance that this role has on Peter and to make clear that Jesus has not changed His mind about having Peter with a primary role in His Church, He asks Peter once again, a third time, the same number of times that Peter has denied him, He says: “…do you love me?”. Now, regarding this third time Jesus asks Peter, scholars notice that Jesus changes the word "love/Agape = selfless, unconditional love" to "friendly love". In other words, this third time Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him as a friend, no more than that. Peter very grieved about this, because he now realizes that he is weak by his own strength alone so he confirms his responses a third time by saying: “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.” Peter truly loves Jesus as His God and Friend by stamping on this third response that Jesus is witness of this love, however he recognized that he is a poor weak man without God's grace (remember that Peter said that he would not deny Jesus even if he would have to die for it (Matt 26:35)). Then our Lord changes His previous responses this time by now saying: “Feed My sheep”. He doesn’t say “My lambs” anymore, but “My sheep” meaning all who are under the care of the ‘lambs’ who directly imitate and represent Christ, the shepherds, the shepherds who are in His Church and are also lambs. Jesus has said previously: “but you [unbelievers] do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:26-27). Some may say that Jesus was only questioning Peter here regarding his three denials. It is true that our Lord was questioning Peter regarding his denials but Jesus was ALSO confirming Peter regarding his supreme pastoral role. Notice that not all people are Jesus’ sheep, only those who listen to His voice and follow Him. Therefore, Peter is to take care of all those who follow Jesus, and those who want to be Jesus’ sheep are called to listen to Jesus’ voice and follow Him by obeying His commandments, they are also to be under the care of His principal representative, Peter. Now, many of these sheep do not follow Jesus explicitly but follow Him implicitly by, to their best of their knowledge, sincerely seek truth, follow their conscience, thus love their neighbor which is implicit love of God. So, Jesus Himself has said so regarding the role of Peter. In other words, the sheep are under the care of the Good Shepherd who also looks for the lost ones (Luke 15:1-7), and His representatives (also called lambs) are called to do likewise.

Jesus had pity when He saw people like “sheep without shepherd” (Mark 6:34), so He didn’t want to leave people like that, without shepherds, when He had to go up to the Father, that’s why He has directly appointed His representatives to also pasture His flock on this earth. Jesus responses about Peter taking care of His "lambs" and "sheep" respectively are not by accident.

If Jesus would not have liked to have Peter as the main guardian of His Church, even more so after he denied Him three times, then He would simply have not said these words of confirmation to Peter in front of His other Apostles. But He did, not only once, but tree times, in case anyone was still not clear about this or if there was still any doubt among them.

Brother 14th November 2017 09:24 PM

Another objection of some people trying to dismiss the primacy of Peter among the Apostles is that St. Paul admonished St. Peter by bringing up the passage that we read in Galatians 2:11-16. Galatians 2:11 reads as follows: “But when Cephas had arrived at Antioch, I stood against him to his face, because he was blameworthy” They say, if Peter would have been the leader, Paul wouldn’t have rebuked him. This reasoning does in any way proves that Peter was not given a superior role in Jesus’ Church. Many times, the members of the Senate critic the behavior of the President or his approach on leading his country, and this in any way means that the President has an equal or inferior role than the members of the Senate. Similarly, Bishops (or any member of the Church) can respectfully disagree with the Supreme Pontiff to a limited extent on non-infallible teachings, fallible teachings, or decisions of the prudential order, basing such disagreement or critique on Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium. For more information on this subject, you can read the following articles from Ron: also .

St. Catherine of Sienna encouraged Pope Gregory XI to return to his See at Rome, to the Chair of St. Peter, instead of staying at Avignon (France) where the Curia was becoming rebellious and pressing the Supreme Pontiff to stay, so she respectfully critiqued the Pope’s lack of decision on such particular matter (St. Catherine of Siena as Seen in Her Letters, ed. Vida D. Scudder (London, 1911), 185). This in any way means that “St. Catherine was head of the Church” or the like. But she was a champion in Catholic Reformation.

Now, regarding the particular case exposed in Galatians 2:11-16, it had to do with St. Peter’s behavior or approach regarding this particular situation. St. Peter, in his personal discretion, decided to cease eating with the Gentiles because of the presence of some Jews. Why he decided to do so? a little historical background is helpful. Many of the first Christians were Jew converts, the Apostles themselves were Jews, and at that time, the Mosaic disciplinary laws were still honored and followed by these Jews converting to Christianity. So it was fitting for the time being that the Gentiles share with some (not all) of the Mosaic laws with the Jews (Acts 15:19-21) (23 . 28-29) since they came together to worship God in the same one faith. For the Jews, blood and things strangled seemed abominable, and they could think that the Gentiles would return to idolatry because of the eating of things sacrificed. It took some years in order for the converted Jews to leave the Mosaic disciplinary laws altogether until they came to the understanding that nothing outside can defile man (Matt. 15:11) and that “everything God created is good, so nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim 4:4).

Also, we should not think of Judaism as one inseparable group, unity is the ideal of humanity but unfortunately, this is not the case in all situations, at least in our times. As happens with the major religions, there are separate select groups among themselves, there are the radicals, the ultra conservatives, the conservatives, the liberals, ultra liberals, etc. and they don’t get along among them because of their different practices:


“Movements in Ancient Times: Hellenizing Jews were opposed by a religious traditionalist group known as the Chasideans (no direct relation to the modern movement known as Chasidism).” “Movements in Israel Today: … Orthodoxy is the only movement that is formally and legally recognized in Israel. Until very recently, only Orthodox Jews could serve on religious councils. … The other American movements have some degree of presence in Israel, but for the most part, Israelis do not formally identify themselves with a movement. Most Israelis describe themselves more generally in terms of their degree of observance, rather than in terms of membership in an organized movement.” .

Conflict between Jews we find in the early years of the Church where the Hebraic Jews did not get along with the non-Hebraic (Greek speaking) Jews (Acts 21:27-28 ).

That being said, what St. Peter tried to do is not to scandalize the Jews who practiced the Mosaic laws and, among those disciplinary laws, there was abstinence of unclean foods. Notice that St. Paul himself teaches the following:

“Do not be willing to destroy the work of God because of food. Certainly, all things are clean. But there is harm for a man who offends by eating. It is good to refrain from eating meat and from drinking wine, and from anything by which your brother is offended, or led astray, or weakened” (Rom 14:20-22).

This is precisely what St. Peter, in his prudential decision, was trying to do, so he was not doing something inherently wrong. St. Paul himself did something similar with his disciple Timothy. St. Paul physically circumcised Timothy because the Jews were in the places where they were going to go (Acts 16:1-3). So, it’s all about a prudential decision on a determined circumstance.

St. Paul’s criticism was due to the fact of St. Peter’s authoritative position in the Church as the head of the Apostles; thus, others following his example. It was St. Peter the person who received the vision advising him to end with the disciplinary laws regarding clean and unclean foods because God has cleansed them all (Acts 10:9-16). So, why didn’t any of the other Apostles received this notification from God? It was because Peter was left in the primary charge of our Lord’s Church. Similarly, St. Joseph is the head of the Holy Family, therefore, it was he the one who received the message from God to take his family and go out to Egypt (Matthew 2:13), and years later, to go back to Israel (19-20). The same with Abram receiving the message from God to leave his land. God did not gave the message to his wife Sara (Gen 12:1) because she is not the head of the family. Also, it was Adam only who was called by God after the fall, not Eve, even though both sinned (Gen 3:9). Therefore, God gives these types of callings or messages regarding a change in direction in peoples’ lives to the person in charge, not anyone else. In case of families, they are considered to be a domestic church, so the message goes to the head of the family.

In St. Paul’s judgement, it could have been a better approach to teach Jews and Gentiles about unity between them by the example of the leader of the Church. To be the “bridge” between them. The eternal moral law based on the love of God, neighbor, self, always surpasses any disciplinary written law, even if such disciplinary law is good, for even a just disciplinary law can sometimes become unjust on a determinate situation (Matt 12:2-4). So, St. Paul’s criticism was regarding on his disagreement with St. Peter’s approach, on a prudential decision in handling the particular situation at Antioch.

The question on whether the Gentiles have to follow the Jewish disciplinary Mosaic laws in order to be saved or become Christians was settled at the Council of Jerusalem by a declaration by St. Peter himself (Acts 15:7-12) where St. Paul, along with Barnabas, both were sent by the Church (Acts 15:3). If St. Paul along with Barnabas were “sent” by the Church, that means that they had a superior order within the Church. This clearly tells us that St. Paul was not at the head of the Church for he had superior(s) who sent them to the Council at Jerusalem. The one who sends (gives the order) is the one who has authority over the one who is sent. Who was the supreme shepherd in Jesus’ Church? Acts 15:7-12 indicates us that St. Peter, the one who rose up and settled the matter at such Council, was the supreme leader (We’ll go into more details about this Council later), and St. Paul, who received the order to go to Jerusalem, was not.

St. Peter teaches that some of the things written by St. Paul in his epistles are difficult to understand that the unlearned distort (2 Peter 3: 16-17) for a good reason. Therefore, such letters have to be read in light of Church’s teachings. St. Paul sometimes teach about “obeying the law” (Romans 2:13), and other times about “not obeying the law” (Rom 3:28 ), but we have to differentiate what kind of “law” St. Paul is talking about on each respective case. Consequently, a teaching authority who can correctly interpret Sacred Scriptures is necessary to guide us. Faith in Jesus is fulfilled by accomplishing the eternal moral law which is based on the love of God, neighbor, self; so this is the law that we must always keep because is unchanging and is over any written disciplinary law. On the other hand, the written disciplinary laws of Moses were good at a given time, they were given by God Himself, but as discipline, they can change over time according to the circumstances and new knowledge and challenges that the Church is facing from time to time, and, as also mentioned above, even a just disciplinary written law can sometimes become unjust on a determinate situation (Matt 12:2-4). So we must be careful in recognizing this distinction. As stated above, St. Peter himself authoritatively forewarns of the unlearned trying to interpret Sacred Scriptures on his own: “just as he [St. Paul] also spoke in all of his epistles about these things. In these, there are certain things which are difficult to understand, which the unlearned and the unsteady distort, as they also do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. But since you, brothers, know these things beforehand, be cautious, lest by being drawn into the error of the foolish, you may fall away from your own steadfastness.” (2 Peter 3: 16-17). And then Peter ends his letter by saying: “Yet truly, increase in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory, both now and in the day of eternity. Amen.” (18 ).

Brother 21st November 2017 07:34 PM

Through the New Testament we see evidence that Peter was indeed appointed first among the Apostles. Even before Jesus went up to the Father, we see that Peter had a prominent and exclusive role among the twelve. Peter’s name is actually mentioned many more times than the name of the rest of the Apostles.

Peter is placed first in almost every list of the Apostles (Matt 10:2-4) (Mark 3:14-19) (Luke 6:14-16). Matthew account calls him “The First” or “the Primary” (Matt 10:2). Notice that these lists show Peter as the primary among the Apostles even though they are not in chronological or or in order of importance or rank among all the twelve because they differ in order except for Peter who is mentioned first and Judas Iscariot is always placed last, and also note that the Gospels started to be written down some years after Jesus’ ascension into Heaven.

Peter is named among the Apostles “Peter and the Apostles” or “Peter and his companions”: (Mark 1:36) (Luke 9:32) (Acts 2:37) (Acts 5:29). This definitely teaches us about his relevance among the other Apostles.

Peter speaks in behalf of the Apostles that they will remain with our Lord Jesus even after a difficult teaching (to eat of His Body and drink of His blood discourse) and many of His disciples have left Him (John 6:29). Peter says: “We [that is speaking for the rest] have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:68-69).

At the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks Peter regarding the Apostles falling asleep. “Then He [Jesus] returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Couldn't you watch with me even one hour?” (Matthew 26:40). Notice that all were sleeping, yet our Lord goes to Peter to reproach about that, it is because Peter is the responsible, Peter is in charge of the Apostles.

The following event is interesting. In Matthew 17:24-27 (or 23-26) we read that those who collected half shekel for the Temple, approached Peter in order to inquire about Jesus regarding paying His census taxes. Notice his primacy among the rest of the Apostles, the tax collectors didn’t approach someone else to inquire about Jesus. Now, these census tax collectors were wrong to consider Jesus like a “foreigner” by looking for Him in order to pay taxes for the Temple because, as Jesus later discuses with Peter, the kings of this earth do not receive tribute or the census tax from their own sons, but only from foreigners. In other words, the kings do not ask their own children to pay them taxes. So the tax collectors wrongly considered Jesus a “foreigner”. They ignored that Jesus is actually the King of kings and the King from the house of David (Rom 1:3). Jesus is truly a Son of king David in human line. But here comes what’s is interesting, then Jesus tells Peter that, in order not to cause scandal among those people (the collectors, or people from this world (worldly minded people – even though this was a religious tax)), He tells Peter to go to the sea and: (a) take the “First” fish that he catches (notice a primacy here as well), (b) take “One” coin (a shekel). Our Lord didn’t ask Peter for several shekels or “two” half-shekels (one for Jesus and one for Peter), but instead only “one” shekel, from the fish’s mouth and (c) to pay for Jesus AND for Peter only with that same “one” shekel. So Jesus also paid Peter’s taxes with that same coin (shekel). What about the rest of the Apostles? So they had to pay for themselves? Well, they should. But it is clear the unity between Jesus and Peter for this particular role of being His Vicar and the primacy of Peter over the rest of the Apostles. Why didn’t Jesus just made appear a coin from where He was and paid His taxes but instead tells Peter to go and fish? – because Peter is in charge to be the Premier (Leading) fisher of men on this earth. It is his duty to represent Jesus during His human physical administrative absence and so, what are Peter’s responsibilities, what Peter has to pay or what are his obligations in this world, are also Jesus’ because Peter has the role to be Jesus’ Vicar (to act in His place) on this earth. "Take it [the one shekel] and give it [that one shekel] to them, for me and for you.”

Brother 21st November 2017 07:38 PM

The Angel tells Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome to “go and tell His disciples and Peter” to go to Galilee (Mark 16:7). An Angel is a “Messenger”. So this is a message from God to the women, and here God clearly stand outs Peter over the rest of the Apostles by mentioning him only “tell His disciples and Peter”.

Mary Magdalene came to Peter and John to tell the news of the resurrection “So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, …" So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.” (John 20:2-3).

Peter was the first Apostle to enter and check the empty tomb even though it was John who arrived first (John 20:4-8 ) (Luke 24:12).

Peter was the first Apostle to see the risen Jesus (Luke 24:34).

Peter appointed the successor of Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:20-22).

Peter talks on the Apostles’ behalf preaching about the Good News of the Gospel (Acts 2:14-41).

Performed the first healing in the Church’s age (Acts 3:6-10).

Peter again talks on the Church’s behalf and in Her defense (Acts 4:5-12).

Among the Apostles, it was Peter who performed a type of excommunication to a couple who acted with hypocrisy and full knowledge by lying to God. Ananias, and then his wife Sapphira, went to the Apostles, but it was Peter who punished them both (Acts 5:1-11). Peter acted in both cases when the Apostles were also present, this clearly shows Peter’s leadership among them.

God through an Angel tells a Gentile convert, Cornelius, to go to Peter (Acts 10:1-8 ).

As mentioned above, it was Peter only who received the revelation from God regarding animal and food being cleansed by God (Acts 10:9-16), so that the long standing Mosaic disciplinary laws can be dispensed.

[Luke 5]
{5:1} Now it happened that, when the crowds pressed toward him, so that they might hear the word of God, he was standing beside the lake of Genesaret.
{5:2} And he saw two boats standing beside the lake. But the fishermen had climbed down, and they were washing their nets.
{5:3} And so, climbing into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, he asked him to draw back a little from the land. And sitting down, he taught the crowds from the boat.

Jesus teaches from Simon/Peter's boat.

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