Daily Gospel – Sunday, June 30, 2024 – Matthew 16,13-19 – Catholic Bible

First Reading (Acts 12:1-11)

Reading of the Acts of the Apostles.

In those days, King Herod arrested some members of the Church to torture them. He ordered James, John’s brother, to be killed with the sword. And seeing that this pleased the Jews, he also ordered Peter to be arrested. These were the days of Unleavened Bread. After arresting Peter, Herod placed him in prison, guarded by four groups of soldiers, with four soldiers each. Herod intended to present him to the people after the Passover festival. While Peter was kept in prison, the Church continually prayed to God for him. Herod was about to introduce him. That same night, Pedro slept between two soldiers, tied with two chains; and the guards guarded the prison door. Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared and a light illuminated the cell. The angel touched Peter’s shoulder, woke him up and said, “Get up quickly!” The chains fell from his hands. The angel continued: “Put on your belt and put on your sandals!” Peter obeyed and the angel said to him: “Put on your cloak and come with me!” Peter accompanied him, and did not know that what was happening through the angel was reality, as he thought it was a vision. After passing the first and second guards, they reached the iron gate that led into the city. The gate opened by itself. They left, walked down a street and soon after the angel left him. Then Peter came to his senses and said: “Now I know for a fact that the Lord sent his angel to free me from the power of Herod and from everything that the Jewish people expected!”

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Second Reading (2 Timothy 4,6-8,17-18)

Reading of the Second Letter of São Paulo to Timothy.

Dearest: As for me, I am about to be poured out as a sacrifice; The time for my departure approaches. I fought the good fight, I completed the race, I kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who await with love its glorious manifestation. But the Lord was by my side and gave me strength; he caused the message to be announced by me in its entirety, and heard by all nations; and I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will free me from all evil and save me for his heavenly Kingdom. To him be the glory, forever and ever! Amen.

– Word of the Lord.

– Thank God.

Gospel (Matthew 16,13-19)

Proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew.

— Glory to you, Lord.

At that time, Jesus went to the region of Caesarea Philippi and there he asked his disciples: “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say it is John the Baptist; others say it is Elijah; still others say it is Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Then Jesus asked them, “And you, who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Responding, Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah, because it was not a human being who revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. Therefore I say to you that you are Peter, and in this matter on stone I will build my Church, and the power of hell will never be able to overcome 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; “.

— Word of Salvation.

— Glory to you, Lord.

Reflecting the Word of God

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Today we are graced with three powerful readings that lead us to reflect on faith, courage and the mission that God entrusts to us. These passages show us inspiring examples of total surrender to God, unshakable trust in His providence, and the responsibility we have as disciples of Christ. Let’s dive into these readings and seek to understand them deeply, applying their lessons to our daily lives.

In the first reading, taken from the book of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 12,1-11), we find the story of Peter being miraculously released from prison. King Herod had decided to persecute the Church and had Peter arrested, placing him under the guard of four escorts of soldiers. It seemed impossible for him to escape. But God had other plans. The night before his trial, an angel of the Lord appeared, illuminated the cell, and told Peter to stand up. The chains fell from his hands, and he followed the angel out of the prison, passing the sentries without being noticed.

This passage reminds us that, even in the most desperate situations, God is able to set us free. Peter’s arrest symbolizes any situation of slavery or oppression that we may face, whether physical, emotional or spiritual. God calls us to trust Him and believe that He can save us, regardless of the circumstances. When we place our faith in God, He acts in ways that often surpass our human understanding.

Now, let’s think about our own lives. What are the chains that bind us? It could be fear, doubt, guilt or some sin that we cannot overcome. Just as Peter was freed, God also wants to free us from these prisons. He sends us his angels, whether visible or invisible, to guide us to freedom. Our part is to trust, lift and follow.

In the second reading, from 2 Timothy 4:6-8.17-18, we find Paul reflecting on his life and ministry as he approaches the end of his earthly journey. He declares, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul sees his life as an offering to God, a living sacrifice that he offered with joy and dedication. He knows that the crown of righteousness is reserved for him, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give him on that day.

These words from Paul challenge us to consider how we are living our own lives. Are we fighting the good fight? Are we running the race with perseverance and faith? Are we keeping faith even in the midst of trials? Paul not only gives us an example of how to live, but he also assures us of the reward that awaits us if we remain faithful.

He goes on to say that the Lord stood by him and gave him strength, so that the message was fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles heard it. He recognizes that he has been delivered from the lion’s mouth and that the Lord will deliver him from all evil, taking him safely to His heavenly Kingdom. This reminds us that as long as we are on the mission God has entrusted to us, He will be by our side, strengthening and protecting us. Our trust must be in His faithfulness, not in the circumstances around us.

Finally, in the gospel of Matthew 16:13-19, we find Peter’s famous confession. Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” And they answer that some say it is John the Baptist, others Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Then Jesus asks the most important question: “And you, who do you say that I am?” Peter responds, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus then declares that Peter is blessed, because this revelation did not come from flesh or blood, but from the Father who is in heaven. He tells Peter that on this rock He will build His Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. He gives Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, with the power to bind and loose on earth and in heaven.

This passage reveals several profound truths to us. First, the identity of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, is the foundation upon which our faith is built. Recognizing who Jesus is is the first step towards understanding our own identity and mission. Secondly, we see the importance of Peter and his role in the Church. Jesus entrusts him with a unique responsibility, symbolized by the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. This teaches us about the authority and continuity of spiritual leadership in the Church.

But there is also a personal calling for each of us. Just as Peter was called to recognize and declare the identity of Jesus, we are also called to do the same in our lives. Who is Jesus for us? How does this truth transform the way we live, our decisions, and our relationships with others?

Reflecting on these readings, we are invited to renew our faith and trust in God. We are called to live with the courage of Peter and Paul, trusting that God is always with us, even in the most difficult circumstances. We are also challenged to recognize Christ’s authority in our lives and to live as true disciples, witnessing His truth and love to the world.

Let us now take a moment of silence to reflect on these passages and ask God to help us apply their lessons to our daily lives. May the Holy Spirit enlighten us and strengthen us to live according to his will.

Lord, we thank You for Your Word that guides and strengthens us. Give us Peter’s courage to trust You in adversity and Paul’s dedication to living our faith fully. Help us to recognize Your Son Jesus as the Christ and to live in accordance with that recognition, proclaiming Your love and Your truth to the world. Amen.

As we leave here today, may we take with us the hope and determination to live as true followers of Christ. May God’s grace accompany us and may we be instruments of His peace and love in the world. Remember, we are called to be light and salt – let us shine and flavor the world with the goodness, justice and love of God. Amen.