On January 18, the Church celebrates the day of her founding. She recalls with awe the assertion of a Galilean fisherman, ?You are the Christ,? and the response of the God-among-us, ?Upon this rock, I will found my church.?
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, ?Who do people say the Son of Man is?? And they said, ?Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.? ?But you,? he said, ?who do you say I am?? Then Simon Peter spoke up and said, ?You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.? Jesus replied, ?Simon son of Jonah, you are a blessed man! Because it was no human agency that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.? Then he gave the disciples strict orders not to say to anyone that he was the Christ.
Almighty Father, who inspired Simon Peter, first among the apostles to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep your Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, so that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.