Word of the day
Reading of the day
A reading from the Book of Numbers
The whole congregation of the children of Israel
arrived in the desert of Zin in the first month,
and the people settled at Kadesh.
It was here that Miriam died, and here that she was buried.
As the community had no water,
they held a council against Moses and Aaron.
The people contended with Moses, exclaiming,
"Would that we too had perished with our kinsmen in the LORD's presence!
Why have you brought the LORD's assembly into this desert
where we and our livestock are dying?
Why did you lead us out of Egypt,
only to bring us to this wretched place
which has neither grain nor figs nor vines nor pomegranates?
Here there is not even water to drink!"
But Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly
to the entrance of the meeting tent, where they fell prostrate.
Then the glory of the LORD appeared to them,
and the LORD said to Moses,
"Take your staff and assemble the community,
you and your brother Aaron,
and in their presence order the rock to yield its waters.
From the rock you shall bring forth water for the congregation
and their livestock to drink."
So Moses took his staff from its place before the LORD, as he was ordered.
He and Aaron assembled the community in front of the rock,
where he said to them, "Listen to me, you rebels!
Are we to bring water for you out of this rock?"
Then, raising his hand, Moses struck the rock twice with his staff,
and water gushed out in abundance for the people
and their livestock to drink.
But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron,
"Because you were not faithful to me
in showing forth my sanctity before the children of Israel,
you shall not lead this community into the land I will give them."
These are the waters of Meribah,
where the children of Israel contended against the LORD,
and where the LORD revealed his sanctity among them.
Gospel of the day
From the Gospel according to Matthew
Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi
and he asked his disciples,
"Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah,
still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter said in reply,
"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my Church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven;
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Then he strictly ordered his disciples
to tell no one that he was the Christ.
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly
from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes,
and be killed and on the third day be raised.
Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him,
"God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you."
He turned and said to Peter,
"Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me.
You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."
Words of the Holy Father
With us too, today, Jesus wants to continue building his Church, this house with solid foundations but where cracks are not lacking, and which is in constant need of repair. The Church always needs to be reformed, repaired. We certainly do not feel like rocks, but only like small stones. Each of us is a small stone, but in Jesus’ hands participates in the building of the Church. And all of us, as small as we are, are rendered “living stones” because when Jesus takes his stone in hand, he makes it his own; he infuses it with life, full of life, full of life from the Holy Spirit, full of life from his love. And thus we have a place and a mission in the Church: she is a community of life, made up of very many stones, all different, which form a single edifice as a sign of fraternity and communion. Moreover, today’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus also wanted Peter as a visible centre of communion for his Church — he too, is not a great stone; he is a small stone, but taken up by Jesus, he becomes the centre of communion — in Peter and in those who would succeed him in the same responsibility of primacy, who since the beginning have been identified as the Bishops of Rome, the city where Peter and Paul bore witness in blood. (Angelus, 27 August 2017)