Pope Francis on June 29, 2018, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, spoke of the “roots” of the Christian faith, proclaimed by Peter to Christ in the 16th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel:
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16).
The Holy Father spoke in St. Peter’s Square before praying the noonday Angelus with a crowd of pilgrims estimated at 30,000 by Vatican police.
“Over the centuries, the world has defined Jesus in different ways: a great prophet of justice and love; a wise master of life; a revolutionary; a dreamer of the dreams of God … and so on,” the Pope explained. But he affirms that it was Peter who proclaimed the truth.
“Jesus is the Son of God: therefore He is perennially alive as His Father is eternally alive,” the Holy Father continued. “This is the novelty that grace ignites in the heart of those who open themselves to the mystery of Jesus: the non-mathematical certainty, but even stronger, interior, of having met the Source of Life, the Life itself made flesh, visible and tangible in our midst.
“This is the experience of the Christian, and it is not the merit of us Christians, it is not our merit, but it comes from God, it is a grace of God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. All this is contained in Peter’s answer: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God’.”
Responding to Peter, Jesus calls him “the rock” upon which he will build His Church – and against which the gates of the underworld will not prevail. Francis points out that this is the first time Jesus uses the word “Church” and He defines Her as “My Church.”