Saturday, September 2, 2017

Shebna, Eliakim, Peter & the Church

Jesus names Peter. Jesus names Peter as the Rock which will hold firm against all assaults. Jesus follows Isaiah and names Peter as his master-of-the-palace for when he is gone. Can we go any deeper into the story of Jesus, Peter, and the Church on earth? Yes, but it isn't always pretty.

(I had hoped all week to get the time to get my notes-text expanded to full-text, but I never got to it. Here is the audio and what notes I had. You can follow along better than most weeks, at least. Also, yeah, there is a lot of baby noise in the background, but hey, "If your church ain't crying, it's dying.")

21st A: Peter, Shebna, and Eliakim

2 weeks ago: Broke, Woke, Bespoke

Not the only way to look at things

Good, better, best

"Go a little further"


Jesus is really happy that Peter figured out who he is. 

You are Peter, either giving him a new name or reinforcing what he named him earlier in John

•Further: fired up homily

This is the beginning of the church

First use of it

And Peter is named the bedrock of the church... that Church's bedrock, foundational moment

Matthew goes whole hog

Mark, important thing was what Peter said: you are the Messiah


1 from God; "flesh & blood" 

2 confirms name, = rock 

3 upon rock

4 gates of hell >> infallibility

5 keys >> ability to govern

6 bind >> make decisions

Jesus will tell all apostles the can forgive sins Easter Sunday night 

Only Peter has keys and can bind 

Proof that J founded church on Peter. 

He's promised that the church will never fail. 

Always teach the truth

Right to govern: set rules and make hard choices  

And it follows that from there, if the gates will never prevail, the next generation must have same guarantees

So these promises follow Peter and successors

Heard before

Very common, Catholic exposition on Matthew 16:18

"Great to have a Pope; great to be Catholic!"

•Further: OT

Really on-it preacher looks at 1st reading too. 


Master of the palace, lord of the house, major domo, 


Taken away


Signs of office, title

(Like a father)

Key = authority

Then actually describes the authority

Opens shut, shuts open

Unmistakeable parallel: 

Keys and double binding

Jesus clearly copying image

Makes Peter the master of his palace

Watcher while he is away


Fr. Rowan isn't really the assistant pastor; 

Properly speaking: parochial vicar

"Over the house of Judah"

"Like a father"

Parallel: Peter not just given verbal authority.

if a reflection of Isaiah and Master of palace, he's saying you are king when the king isn't around

Jesus is head of the church

Pope is "visible head of the church on earth"

(Scott Hahn)

 Peg ~ rock

"Hoo Ahh! Now it's really great to be a Catholic. 

Not just proof, but wisdom and assuring!"

•Further (I won't say furthest, b/c there's always more to find, but is the deepest I will go today

"Man, I like these OT parallels!

Is the more?"

Yeah, but you might not like all of it. 

"I will fix him as a peg in a firm place,a seat of honor for his ancestral house;

On him shall hang all the glory of his ancestral house: its offspring and offshoots—all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.

On that day, says the LORD of hosts, the peg fixed in a firm place shall give way, break off and fall, and the weight that hung on it shall be no more. The LORD has spoken.

End of chapter. 

<hands drop>

Oh man. 

I told you might not want to hear it. 

Just heard the most triumphal line of God bestowing his favor and trust on his right hand man in the Old Testament. 

And seem that Jesus was clearly making parallel with that for his right hand man in New. 

But wow. 

"the peg fixed in a firm place shall give way, break off and fall, and the weight that hung on it shall be no more."

So much for Peter the rock!


But is it? 

Did J pick Peter because courageous?

Because sinless?

Because prudent and wise?


He picked him, because he picked him. 

There is always a mystery in what we call "divine election"

When God chooses someone for a task

And that's often not whom we would think to choose. 

But the final verses are even deeper

No man can bear that weight

No person can be the peg with absolutely everything hanging on him. 

All humans will fail, especially under that load

Peter will fail him

Heck, Peter will fail him next week, 

Before Matthew Ch 16 is finished. 

You could've had a smarter, tougher Jewish man like Paul and he couldn't have held that weight. 

So the final lines of Isaiah 22 tell us lots

God knows no man is fit to be the vicar of Christ

No human can be the rock on their own merits

This position, this charism of being the visible head of the church on earth only works because of God

The rock is no rock without the one who gave the name and said, "I will build my church"

It's Jesus' church

Only a fool would think it's Peter's church. 

God chooses weak men and puts them over an institution that is in the realist sense "too big to fail"

Because millions of souls depend on her always teaching the truth 

So God gives graces to the whole...

And special grace to the unfit, flawed man who has to bear that title Vicar of Christ and Successor of St. Peter

Not for his sake but for ours

So we can be safe

Last lines of Isaiah 22 are perfect. 

We'll never then be confused

Never think that the pope is the savior

We know he alone can't hold the weight

But God can

God can give those graces to always protect the church

God does give those graces

And he actually does it through a fragile, flawed, imperfect human being:

His vicar

The vicar of Christ on earth 

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