(Editors Note) Jesus asked, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is”? I will respond with a statement. When a person discovers who Jesus is, they find themselves as well!
One morning as I was in my office (when I served at the New Orleans MEPS) I placed my keys and wallet in or on my desk when I went out to do PT. When I came back, we were knee deep in applicants so I helped out with the physicals until almost noon when I went back into my office to change into my uniform.
At this time, I could not find my keys. I looked everywhere for them. I asked everyone to include going to the other sections in the MEPS, but to no avail. I could not find the keys. I ended up having to get a ride home with a friend. Gigi and Matt actually went back for me and got the jeep to bring it home.
The next day, I had to borrow Gigi’s keys to drive the jeep to work. During the day, I could not find the keys and so another day passed and I was about to think the keys were gone for good. On the third day, I still did not find the keys and still borrowed Gigi’s keys to drive the jeep.
About noon, I left the MEPS to go over to another base where they had an Army PX so I could get something from clothing sales. On my way back I decided to stop at Kentucky Fried Chicken for a quick pick up for lunch. I placed my order, drove around to the window, paid my bill and waited for my lunch.
I was still upset about losing my keys that I left on my desk, when I asked St. Anthony to help me on this issue. I felt strange that he didn’t pop up into my mind before this, when a stranger walked up from behind me, someone I never seen before, and asked me if these were my keys?
I was shocked as I sat there at Kentucky Fried Chicken, with my keys that I hadn’t seen in three days, right in my hands. Nobody, not even me knew that I was going to be there when I was there. I almost decided to go up the road to McDonalds for a hamburger but at the last second turned in where I turned in.
The individual was civilian, would never had been on an Military base, and didn’t know me from Adam. Shocked with my keys in hand, the stranger was gone as quickly as he came. I called Gigi to let her know what just happened and she thought I was high on something.
St. Anthony is a friend of my wife’s too as she has found several things that she had lost, he’s been a friend. This very day it looked like DTB and I were not going to have our interview with Dr. Gregory Thompson. We did not get the hook up for the clearance for the show until just four minutes before show time. It was lost it appeared until St. Anthony’s name was mentioned!
Speaking of the ‘keys’, this is an excellent opportunity to discuss the issue of the keys and the authority Christ gave the Church.
The issue that most separates Catholics from Protestants is the question of authority. Is the Catholic Church authentic? Is it truly the faith that Jesus established? Are the Protestants correct in rebelling against it?
The name ‘Protestant’ is derived from the 16th century reformers who broke away from the Catholic faith.
A study of history is vital to discovering the truth. Who was right and who was wrong? Religious tradition is simply the record of how people handed down the faith through the generations. Apostolic Succession is the authority beginning with Jesus and His Apostles by which the Sacrament called ‘Holy Orders’ was instituted. For 2000 years the Catholic Church has taught with authority through ‘Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.’
Protestants do not recognize Sacred Tradition because they reject tradition. Tradition is seen from two primary perspectives.
Firstly, they state that the ‘traditions of men’ have no foundation of truth in which to live because they recognize no divine establishment.
Secondly, they see tradition in the same light as how Jesus saw the Pharisees.
Jesus stated, “The scribes and Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses, therefore do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but do not practice.”
Protestants attempt to tie Catholic Tradition with Old Testament authority. From the Catholic position, the scripture itself is born out of the Sacred Tradition handed down from the Apostles. It is the word of God divinely inspired! Second Thessalonians 2:15 states, “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours”.
For almost four centuries, oral tradition was the authority by which Christians lived. From 33 A.D.to 396 A.D., hundreds of writings were utilized by the Christian communities and accepted as authentic writings on the faith. Then, at the conclusion of the Council of Hippo (393-396 A.D.), the canon (divinely inspired) writings were separated from the Apocryphal books, and the result was what we now call the New Testament.
The Catholic Church was the authority that put the Bible together. This is an historical fact. Just as the Holy Spirit wrote the scripture through inspired authors, the Holy Spirit used the Church to compile the Bible. Now the Holy Spirit uses the Catholic Church to maintain the Bible, and to teach the Bible.
A lot of the attacks Protestants will make with their interpretation of scripture were not issues in 396 A.D. Not everything the Church believes was explicitly written down in the Bible (John 21:24-25). The faith has been handed down by Apostolic Authority. The scripture does give the basis for the living tradition handed down by the Church Fathers.
Matthew 16:8-18, 19 states, “and I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
The Protestant will attempt to gloss this passage over by rejecting the idea that Christ conferred anything significant upon Peter. They maintain that the ‘Rock’ refers to what Peter answered; “You are the Christ . . .” While agreeing that Jesus is the Rock, He is the Master Builder establishing His foundation upon St. Peter.
Catholics maintain that Peter’s new name was very significant. His name was originally Simon, son of Jonah, or Bar Jonah; ‘Simon’ meant ‘the winds that flow through the weeds.’ Jesus changed Simon’s name to ‘Peter’ meaning the ‘rock.’ Jesus is clearly establishing authority upon Simon Peter.
Jesus gives the keys to the kingdom to Peter, and the power to bind and loose on earth. Jesus has the authority to supercede the keys given to the Household of King David (Isaiah 22:22) to St. Peter (Matthew 16:19). This authority and power was not given to just every Joe Shmuck. It was given to Simon Peter.
Do not think that this authority and power would end with Peter’s death as the ‘keys’ designates an office or any of the other Apostles as well. According to Acts 14:22,23, “They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, ‘it is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. They appointed presbyters for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith”.
When ever the Lord would change the name of someone, this was always significant. Firstly, in Genesis 17:5, He changed Abram’s (Father) name to ‘Abraham,’ (Father of many nations) as part of God’s Covenant making Abraham the ‘Father’ of a host of nations.
Secondly, in Genesis 35:10, God changed Jacob’s name to Israel and stated, ”I am God almighty, be fruitful and multiply. A nation indeed an assembly of nations shall stem from you.”
Thirdly, He changed Simon, Bar Jona, to Peter, the Rock. I believe the Catholic Church makes the most sense, especially when you hear Protestants tell you from the TV set that the church and its teachings are not important. No wonder Protestants have branched to over 33,000 different denominations.
They take the keys and the power to loose and bind as an individual thing. Then, they give the Holy Spirit credit for their personal positions. This is not apostolic or even biblical.
The Apostles and the Bible reflect a great concern for those who would oppose their authority and teach doctrine other than the Church. Galatians 1:7-9 states, “But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one you received, let that one be accursed!”
In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter warns, “Speaking of these (referring to Paul‘s letters), in them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and the unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.”
St. Peter, the first Pope, also states, “Know this first of all that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the Holy Sprit who spoke under the influence of God (2 Peter 20, 21).” This is a warning to those who would attempt to change things, which they do to their own ruin.
All Protestant churches have men as their founders, men who broke away from the Catholic church, or those who founded churches much later as the Protestant movement deteriorated. These churches (whom the Catholic Church may respect) were man-made, and clearly in violation to the scripture and the teachings of the Apostles.
The Protestants have built their foundation on the three major sola’s; Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, and Sola Christi. St. Peters warning addresses the need to rely upon the Church for authentic interpretation of the Scripture. A true Christian does not have to recognize the authority, or any ministers produced, of a church founded in 1917 in Arkansas.
We are obligated to follow that authority which Jesus established upon this ‘Rock’ the Church of the Apostles. Ephesians 2:19-20 states, “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone”.
1 Timothy 3:15 states, “But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the Household of God, which is the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Foundation of Truth”. Practically every page in the New Testament reveals authority that Christ gave the Apostles.
Pope Benedict XVI is the 265th successor of Peter. This succession is significant! Bishops, priests, theologians, and anyone else may have a lot to say, but if it does not coincide with the teaching Magisterial of the Catholic Church and through this body, it just does not carry any weight.