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Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples that devastating question: “But who do you say that I am?” But the disciples don’t speak. Are they afraid? Perhaps. Finally, Simon Peter speaks: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” You are the Mashiach, the “anointed one,” the long-awaited Savior; but more to it, you are the Son of God, not just a human hero. This is the mystical faith that stands at the heart of Christianity. To hold this Petrine faith is to be a Christian; to deny it is to deny Christianity.

And then those amazing words of Jesus: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.” This insight did not come from Simon’s own intelligent speculation. It came from above, through grace, from God. And this is why Peter is a rock.

The Church is built not on a worldly foundation of any kind but on a mystical foundation, born of Peter’s faith in the revealing God. The Church is neither democratic nor aristocratic—it is charismatic. And this is where its power comes from.