Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Church has long regarded this passage as the foundational moment for the establishment of the ministry of the pope as head of the Church.  The symbol of keys appears in the papal crest, the sign both of governance and of leadership that is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ.  Peter, the rock, symbolizes that the human community that is the Church, rests on the permanence of its divine foundation.  Although Jesus commissions Peter to a ministry of reconciliation, that same mandate is given to all his disciples.  The strength of the Church depends on a communion of love, justice, and mercy.