How binding and loosing are facets of the same thing

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Peter has the power to do only good, by binding and untying.

Today’s readings can be found here.

Matthew 16:13-19

Reflection

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

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Having faith means having Peter’s faith. His faith is not the consequence of his education, his upbringing, his intelligence, his reasoning, or inherited through “flesh and blood,” but a gift from God, and from God alone.

This gift makes us capable of saying something revolutionary: Jesus is not just a prophet, a spiritual coach, a good educator, a snake charmer, but “The Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Therefore, today’s feast is that of a man who holds the “keys:” His faith is truly the key to understanding how to really live and act:

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Binding and untying are not two opposite ways of acting, but two different ways of doing the same thing: Sometimes we need “ties” that save us (this is the Church), and other times we need something that “unbinds us” from what keeps us in slavery and keeps us from living life to its fullest (this is Mercy).

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Peter does not have the power to do good or evil. He has the power to do only good, by binding and untying.

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