S. John Paul II Homil. 1042
1042 4. In speaking today of sanctity, of the desire for and the pursuit of holiness, we need to ask ourselves how we can create environments which favour the aspiration to holiness. What can be done to make the family, the school, the workplace, the office, the villages and the cities, and finally the whole country a dwelling-place of saints, who can influence others by their goodness, their fidelity to Christ’s teaching and the witness of their everyday lives, and thus foster the spiritual growth of all people? Saint Kinga and all the Saints and Blessed of the thirteenth century reply: it requires witness. It requires courage not to put your faith under a bushel-basket. And in the end it requires that in the hearts of believers there should abound that desire for holiness which not only shapes one’s private life but also influences society as a whole.
In my Letter to Families I wrote that “the history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family. The family is placed at the centre of the great struggle between good and evil, between life and death, between love and all that is opposed to love. To the family is entrusted the task of striving, first and foremost, to unleash the forces of good, the source of which is found in Christ the Redeemer of man. Every family unit needs to make these forces their own, so that, to use a phrase spoken on the occasion of the Millennium of Christianity in Poland, the family will be “strong with the strength of God” (No.23). Today, drawing upon the age-old experience of Saint Kinga, I repeat these words here among the inhabitants of the territory of Sacz, who for centuries, often at the cost of personal sacrifice, have given proof of their devotion to the family and of their great love for family life. Together with the Patroness of this land, I appeal to all my countrymen: May Polish families preserve their faith in Christ! Stand with firm perseverance at the side of Christ, so that he will remain in you! Do not allow the light of holiness to grow dim in your hearts, in the hearts of fathers and mothers, of sons and daughters! May the splendour of that light shape future generations of saints, for the glory of God’s name! Tertio millennio adveniente!
Brothers and Sisters, do not be afraid to aspire to holiness! Do not be afraid to be saints! Make of this century now drawing to a close and of the new millennium an era of saintly men and women!
5. “Saints thirst for holiness”. This thirst was alive in the heart of Kinga. With this desire she meditated on the words of Saint Paul which we have heard today: “Concerning the virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. I think that in view of the present distress it is well for a person to remain as he is” (1Co 7,25-26). Inspired by this counsel, she sought to consecrate herself to God whole-heartedly by a vow of virginity. And so, when the circumstances of the time dictated that she was to marry Prince Boleslaus, she convinced him to live a life of virginity for the glory of God, and after a waiting-period of two years the spouses made a vow of perpetual chastity in the hands of Bishop Prandota.
This way of life, perhaps difficult to understand nowadays, yet deeply rooted in the tradition of the early Church, gave Saint Kinga that inner freedom which enabled her to be concerned first of all with the things of the Lord and to lead a profound religious life. Today let us reconsider this great testimony. Saint Kinga teaches us that both marriage and virginity lived in union with Christ can become a path to holiness. Today Saint Kinga rises to safeguard these values. She reminds us that the value of marriage, this indissoluble union of love between two persons, cannot be brought into question under any circumstances. Whatever difficulties may arise, one may not abandon the defence of this primordial love which has united two persons and which is constantly blessed by God. Marriage is the way of holiness, even when it becomes the way of the Cross.
The walls of the Convent of Stary Sacz, which Saint Kinga founded and where she came to the end of her life, seem today a testimony of how much she esteemed chastity and virginity, rightly seeing in this state an extraordinary gift whereby man experiences in a special way his own freedom. He can make of this inner freedom a place of encounter with Christ and with others on the path of holiness. Standing before this Convent, together with Saint Kinga, I speak in a special way to you young people: defend your inner freedom! Let no false shame keep you from cultivating chastity! And may the young men and women called by Christ to preserve life-long virginity know that this is a privileged state, which manifests most clearly the powerful work of the Holy Spirit.
There is yet another characteristic of the spirit of Saint Kinga, associated with her desire for holiness. As a princess she knew how to be about her Father’s business even in this world. At her husband’s side she shared in his rule, showing firmness and courage, generosity and concern for the good of the country and her subjects. During unrest within the state, during the struggle for power in a kingdom divided into regions, during the devastating invasions of the Tartars, Saint Kinga was able to rise to the needs of the moment. She worked zealously for the unity of the Piast heritage, and in order to raise the country from ruin she did not hesitate to give away the entire dowry received from her father. Linked to her name are the rock salt mines of Wieliczka and Bochnia near Kraków. First and foremost, however, she was attentive to the needs of her subjects. The old biographies written on her confirm this, testifying that the people called her their “comforter”, “physician”, “nurse”, “holy mother”. Having renounced natural motherhood, she became a true mother to all.
She was also concerned for the cultural development of the nation. She herself and the local Convent are linked to the birth of true monuments of literature, such as the first book written in the Polish language: Zoltarz Dawidów, the Psalter of David.
All this is associated with her sanctity. And when we ask today how to go about becoming saints and living the life of holiness, Saint Kinga seems to reply: You need to be concerned with the things of the Lord in this world. She bears witness that carrying out this task consists in a constant effort to preserve harmony between the faith we profess and the life we lead. Today’s world needs the holiness of Christians who in the ordinary conditions of family and professional life take on their proper daily duties, and who, in their desire to do the will of the Creator and to serve others each day, respond to his eternal love. This is true of the various areas of life such as political, economic, social and legislative activity (cf. Christifideles Laici CL 42). These sectors must never lack the spirit of service, honesty, truth, and concern for the common good, even at the cost of an unselfish sacrifice of one’s individual good, following the example of the holy Princess of these lands! In these areas too, may there be an abundant thirst for holiness, quenched by effective service in the spirit of love of God and neighbour!
6. “Saints do not fade away.” As we look to the figure of Kinga, a fundamental question arises: What made her a figure which in a certain sense has not passed away? What enabled her to survive in the memory of the Polish people and, in particular, in the memory of the Church? What is the name of that power which defies the inexorable law that says, “everything fades away”. The name of this power is love. Today’s Gospel of the ten wise virgins speaks precisely of love. Kinga was certainly one of the wise virgins. Like them, she went out to meet the Divine Bridegroom. Like them, she kept watch with her lamp of love burning bright in order not to miss the moment of the Bridegroom’s coming. Like them, she met him at his coming and she was invited to take part in the wedding banquet. The love of the Divine Spouse in the life of Princess Kinga found expression in countless acts of love of neighbour. It was truly because of that love that the “fading away” to which everyone on earth is subject has not erased her memory. Today, after so many centuries, the Church in Poland expresses that same love.
“Saints draw life from other Saints and thirst for holiness”. Once more I repeat these words, here in the territory of Sacz. Kinga received this land as a gift in exchange for the dowry which she donated for the relief of the country, and this land has never ceased to be her special property. She always watches over the faithful people who live here. How can we fail to thank her for her care of families, especially the many local families with numerous children which we look upon with admiration and respect? How can we fail to thank her for imploring for this ecclesial community the grace of so many priestly and religious vocations? How can we fail to thank her for gathering us here today, uniting in common prayer brothers and sisters from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine, reviving the tradition of spiritual unity which she herself was so concerned to shape?
1043 Filled with gratitude, let us praise God for the gift of the holiness of the Lady of this land, and let us pray that the splendour of this holiness will continue in all of us. In the new millennium, may this magnificent light shine to all the ends of the earth, so that peoples may come from afar to God’s holy name (cf. Tob Tb 13,13, Vulg.) and see his glory.
“Saints do not fade away”.
Saints call upon holiness.
Saint Kinga, Lady of this land,
Obtain for us the grace of holiness!
Wednesday, 16 June 1999
1. Once again, during my service to the universal Church in the See of Saint Peter, I come to my native town of Wadowice. With great emotion I gaze upon this city of my childhood years, which witnessed my first steps, my first words and those “first bows” which, as Norwid puts it, are “like the eternal profession of Christ: 'Be praised!’” (cf. Moja piosenka [My Song]). The city of my childhood, my family home, the church of my Baptism . . . I wish to cross these hospitable thresholds, bow before my native soil and its inhabitants, and utter the words of greeting given to family members upon on their return from a long journey: “Praised be Jesus Christ!”
With these words I greet all the people of Wadowice, from the elderly, to whom I am linked by the bonds of childhood and adolescence, to the children, who are seeing for the first time the Pope who has come to visit them. I greet the beloved Cardinal Franciszek and thank him because, as Pastor of the Archdiocese, he has shown constant concern for my native town. I greet the Auxiliary Bishops and the retired Bishops. I thank the visiting Bishops who are accompanying me along this pilgrimage. I extend heartfelt greetings to the priests, especially those from both Prefectures of Wadowice, and among them the parish priest of this parish. I entrust to God the late Father Tadeusz Zacher and all the deceased priests who exercised their pastoral ministry in this city. I warmly embrace all the families of Religious who serve in the Wadowice area.
In a particular way I wish to greet the Discalced Carmelite Fathers of Górka in Wadowice. We are meeting on an exceptional occasion: 27 August this year marks the centenary of the consecration of the Church of Saint Joseph, at the Convent founded by Saint Raphael Kalinowski. As I did as a young man, I now return in spirit to that place of particular devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which had such a great influence on the spirituality of the Wadowice area. I myself received many graces there, and today I wish to thank the Lord for them. I am pleased that I was able to beatify, together with one hundred and eight martyrs, Blessed Father Alfons Maria Mazurek, a pupil and later a worthy teacher in the minor seminary attached to the Convent. I had the opportunity to meet personally this witness of Christ who in 1944, as prior of the convent of Czerna, confirmed his fidelity to God by a martyr’s death. I kneel in veneration before his relics, which rest in the Church of Saint Joseph, and I give thanks to God for the gift of the life, martyrdom and holiness of this great Religious.
2. Jerusalem, “for love of the house of the Lord, I will ask for your good” (Ps 122,9). Today I make my own these words of the Psalmist and I apply them to this town. Wadowice, town of my childhood, for love of the house – my family home and the house of the Lord – I will ask for your good! How can I not make this promise, as Providence has enabled me today to be present here, on a bridge as it were, which connects these two houses – my family home and the house of God? It is an extraordinary, and yet most natural, coming together of two places which – like no others – leave a deep mark on the heart.
1044 With filial affection, I embrace the threshold of the home of my birth, giving thanks to divine Providence for the gift of life passed on to me by my beloved parents, for the warmth of the family home, for the love of my dear ones, who gave me a sense of security and strength, even when they had to face death and the difficulties of daily life in troubled times.
With profound veneration I also embrace the threshold of the house of God, the parish church of Wadowice, and in it the Baptistery, in which I was joined to Christ and received into the community of his Church. In this church I made my first Confession and received my First Holy Communion. Here I was an altar boy. Here I gave thanks to God for the gift of the priesthood and, as Archbishop of Kraków, I celebrated the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of my Ordination to the Priesthood. God alone, the giver of every grace, knows what goodness and what manifold graces I received from this church and from this parish community. To him, the Triune God, I give glory today at the doors of this church.
Finally, with childlike trust, I turn to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, to gaze again upon the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Wadowice. I do it with even greater joy, because today I crown this image, as a sign of our love for the Mother of the Saviour and for her divine Son. This sign is all the more expressive because I am told that these crowns were made with your gifts, often very precious, and associated with many special memories, people’s lives, their difficulties, or the noble sentiments of families, spouses and engaged couples. To this material gift you have added the great gift of the spirit – the prayer of entrustment to the Mother of Christ who has visited your homes. I am sure that your ardent love for Mary will never be without a response. This mutual bond of love is itself, in a sense, a source of grace and a pledge of the unfailing help which through Mary’s intercession we receive from her divine Son.
3. “When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman” (Ga 4,4). These words of Saint Paul, which we have heard today, bring us in a certain sense to the very heart of this mystery. The fullness of time came with the mystery of the Incarnation of the Eternal Word. The Son of God came into the world to accomplish the Father’s saving plan, to bring about the redemption of man and restore him to the sonship which he had lost. In this mystery Mary has a special place. God called her to become the woman by whom the original sin of the first woman would be undone. God needed this mediation of Mary. He needed her free consent, her obedience and her devotion, in order to reveal fully his eternal love for humanity.
The Apostle of the Nations would later write: “Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying: 'Abba, Father!” (Ga 4,6). We also know that this event took place in the presence of Mary. Just as she was present at the beginning of Christ’s work of redemption, so too, on the day of Pentecost, she was present at the beginning of the Church. She, who on the day of the Annunciation was filled with the Holy Spirit, was the special witness of the Spirit’s presence on the day of Pentecost. She who owed her own motherhood to the mysterious working of the Spirit was able, more than anyone else, to understand the significance of the descent of the Consoler. Mary, as no other, recognized the moment in which the life of the Church began – the life of that community of men and women who are made members of Christ and can call upon God as Father. No one in the world has been given an experience of the Trinitarian love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to the same extent as Mary, the Mother of the Word Incarnate.
And so, as we prepare to celebrate the Great Jubilee of the Redemption, we turn in a special way to her as a unique guide on the paths of salvation. If the Jubilee is meant to make us aware of all that was accomplished by the Incarnation of the Son of God, we cannot fail to imitate the experience of the faith, hope and love of the Mother of Christ. We cannot fail to turn to her. From Mary, in fact, we learn the openness to the Spirit which enables us to enjoy more fully the fruits of Christ’s Death and Resurrection.
The conviction that the Mother of God has a unique role in the life of the Church and of every Christian was always dear to our forefathers. Over the last hundred years the people of Wadowice expressed this in a special way when they gathered to venerate the image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and made her the Patron of their personal, family and social life. In 1935 Father Leonard Prochownik, a local priest, wrote: “Our Lady of Perpetual Help is venerated here. She has her chapel, where her miraculous image is placed, and there many people have personally experienced and continue to experience how much she shows her goodness and hastens to assist them in their temporal and spiritual needs”. And that was true; I can personally testify to this. And I believe that it is still true today. May it also be true in the future!
4. During my first visit to Wadowice, I asked you to surround me with constant prayer before the image of this Mother. I see that my request has been inscribed in stone. I believe this is a sign that my request has also remained deeply engraved in your hearts. Today, I thank you warmly today for this prayer. I always feel it at work and I ask you to continue to pray for me. I have so much need of your prayer. The Church has so much need of it. The entire world has need of it.
There is one other thing for which I want to thank you. I know that in Wadowice the Church of Kraków, together with its Archbishop, has built a particular votive shrine of our thanksgiving to the Mother of God. Not far from here a Home for Single Mothers has been built. Those women who, despite the difficulties and sacrifices, wish to keep the fruit of their motherhood can find shelter and help there. I am grateful for this great gift of your love for the human person and your concern for life. I am all the more grateful because the Home is named after my mother Emilia. I believe that she who brought me into the world and filled my childhood with love will also watch over this undertaking. I ask you to continue to support this house with your goodness.
5. Sub tuum praesidium . . .
We fly to your protection, O Mary.
1045 To your protection we entrust the history of this town,
of the Church of Kraków and the whole country.
To your maternal love
we entrust the lives of each individual,
of our families and of society as a whole.
Despise not our petitions in our need,
but deliver us always from every danger.
Mary, obtain for us the grace of faith, hope and love,
so that following your example and guidance,
we may carry into the new Millennium
our witness to the Father’s love,
1046 to the redeeming Death and Resurrection of the Son
and to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
Be with us at all times!
O glorious and blessed Virgin,
Our Mother! Amen.
St Stanislaus Chapel, Kraków's Wawel Cathedral
Thursday, 17 June 1999
1047 "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt 25,40). Christ's words, with which the liturgy leads us into the mystery of today's memorial of St Brother Albert, acquire particular eloquence in Wawel Cathedral. Indeed, together with the tombs of the saints, rulers and national heroes, a story of love is hidden here, of that love which makes life for one's brethren a gift for Christ.
I give thanks to divine Providence because once again I have been able to visit the confessio of St Stanislaus, to offer here the sacrifice of thanksgiving for this ecclesial community, which the Bishop of Szczepanów has strengthened for an entire millennium with his pastoral ministry and his death by martyrdom. In a certain sense he initiated this history of love for man and for Christ which has been continually fulfilled among this people. From it also stems the calendarium of our life, our searching, our pilgrimage - both as individuals and as a community - to the encounter with Christ. I praise God that I was able to share in this great spiritual heritage, especially as Bishop of Kraków, and that I can draw strength and inspiration from this wealth as Bishop of Rome.
I would like to offer warm greetings to everyone taking part in this Eucharist. It would be difficult to name them all. They are people dear to me, members of the Government, representatives of various milieux with whom I was associated and who carry out important cultural, scientific and social roles in the nation's life.
In particular I would like to greet the seminarians of the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Kraków, the seminary which I too attended, although in a very unusual way. I am referring to the period of the occupation and that which followed. The period of the underground seminary. Afterwards there was a gradual normalization and I began my scholarly work connected with the Theological Faculty of the Jagiellonian University. I am delighted with the vocations.
I am pleased that you have come and I thank God for the gift of vocation he has given you. During this Holy Mass I would like to entrust each of you to God and to ask for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which you need to preserve your vocation, to fulfil it with wisdom and love in the priesthood, and to make it a light for the world in the third millennium. Please bring my cordial greetings and my blessing to your brothers in all the Polish major seminaries, both diocesan and religious.
I cordially greet all who have gathered here - those to whom I have been tied for years by close friendship and those whom I may not know personally, but who offer me their kindness. I thank them with all my heart for coming, for the community we have formed around this tomb, the confessio of St Stanislaus, Poland's first patron. Praised be Jesus Christ!
1. “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”! (Mt 16,16).
Peter, speaking on behalf of the group of Apostles, proclaims his own faith in Jesus of Nazareth, the long-awaited Messiah, Saviour of the world. In response to his profession of faith, Christ entrusts him with the mission of being the visible foundation on which he would build the whole edifice of the community of believers: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church” (Mt 16,18).
This is the faith which down the ages has spread around the world through the ministry and witness of the Apostles and their successors. This is the same faith that we proclaim today as we celebrate the solemn memorial of Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles. Following an ancient and venerable tradition, Rome's Christian community, which has the honour of preserving the tombs of these two Apostles, the “pillars” of the Church, expresses its devotion to them in a single liturgical feast and venerates them together as its heavenly patrons.
2. Peter, the fisherman from Galilee, was called by Jesus with his brother Andrew at the beginning of his public ministry to become a “fisher of men” (cf. Mt Mt 4,18-20). Peter witnessed the most important moments of Jesus' public life, such as the Transfiguration (cf. Mt Mt 17,1-2) and his prayer in the Garden of Olives just before the Passion (Mt 26,36-37); after the paschal events Christ entrusted him with the task of tending God's flock in his name (cf. Jn Jn 21,15-17).
1048 From the day of Pentecost Peter governed the Church, watching over her fidelity to the Gospel and guiding her first contacts with the world of the Gentiles. His ministry was expressed in a particular way at the crucial moments that marked the growth of the apostolic Church. Indeed, it is he who welcomed into the community of believers the first convert from paganism (cf. Acts Ac 10,1-48), and it was he who spoke authoritatively in the Jerusalem assembly on the problem of freedom from the obligations of the Jewish law (cf. Acts Ac 15,7-11).
The mysterious plan of divine Providence led the Apostle Peter to Rome where he shed his blood as a supreme witness of faith and love for the divine Teacher (cf. Jn Jn 21,18-19). In this way he fulfilled his mission to be a sign of fidelity to Christ and of the unity of all God's People.
3. Paul, the former persecutor of the newborn Church, was touched by God's grace on the road to Damascus and became the tireless Apostle of the Gentiles. During his missionary journeys he continually preached the crucified Christ and drew groups of faithful in various cities of Europe and Asia to the Gospel cause.
His intense labour did not prevent the “Apostle of the Gentiles” from engaging in extensive reflection on the Gospel message, which he applied to the various situations he encountered in his preaching.
The Acts of the Apostles describes the long journey which led him from Jerusalem first to Syria and Asia Minor, then to Greece and finally to Rome. It is precisely here, at the centre of the then-known world, that his witness to Christ was crowned with martyrdom. As he himself says in the second reading proclaimed a few moments ago, the mission entrusted to him by the Lord is to take the Gospel message to the pagans: “The Lord stood by me and gave me strength to proclaim the word fully, that all the Gentiles might hear it” (2Tm 4,17).
4. According to a well-established custom, on this day dedicated to the memory of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the Pope confers the pallium on the Metropolitan Archbishops appointed during the past year, as a sign of communion with the See of Peter.
It is therefore a great joy for me to greet you, beloved Brothers in the Episcopate, who have come to Rome from various parts of the world for this happy event. With you I would like to greet the Christian communities entrusted to your pastoral care: under your wise guidance they are called to offer a courageous witness of fidelity to Christ and his Gospel. The gifts and charisms of each community are a treasure for everyone and together form one hymn of praise to God, the source of all good. One of the most important of these gifts is certainly that of unity, well symbolized by today's conferral of the pallium.
5. Moreover, the longing for Christian unity is underscored by the presence of delegates from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, who have come to share the joy of today's liturgy and to venerate the Apostles, patrons of the Church in Rome. I address my respectful greetings to them and, through them, I greet the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. May the Apostles Peter, Paul and Andrew, who were instruments of communion in the early Christian communities, sustain all of Christ's disciples on their journey towards full unity by their example and intercession.
The imminence of the Jubilee of the Year 2000 invites us to make our own the prayer for unity which Jesus offered to the Father on the eve of his Passion (Jn 17,20-23). We are called to accompany our petition with concrete signs that encourage the progress of Christians towards full communion. For this reason I have asked that a day of prayer and fasting for the Jubilee be included in the calendar of the Year 2000 on the vigil of the feast of the Transfiguration, as His Holiness Bartholomew I suggested. This initiative will be a practical expression of our intention to join in the initiatives of our brethren in the Orthodox Churches and of the desire that they take part in ours.
May the Lord, through the intercession of the Apostles Peter and Paul, grant that the ecumenical commitment be intensified in the hearts of believers, so that everyone will forget the errors committed in the past and attain the full unity that Jesus desired.
6. “Blessed is the Lord who delivers his friends” (Response, Responsorial Psalm; Italian Lectionary). In their apostolic mission, Sts Peter and Paul were obliged to face difficulties of every kind. But, far from deterring their missionary activity, these difficulties reinforced their zeal for the Church's welfare and for the salvation of mankind. They were able to overcome every trial because their trust was not based on human resources but on the grace of the Lord, who, as the readings of today's solemnity recall, delivers his friends from every evil and saves them for his kingdom (cf. Acts Ac 12,11 1Tm 4,18).
1049 It is this same trust in God which must also sustain us. Yes, the “Lord delivers his friends”. This awareness must instil courage in us as we face the difficulties encountered in proclaiming the Gospel in daily life. May our holy patrons, Peter and Paul, sustain us and obtain for us that missionary zeal which made them witnesses of Christ to the ends of the then-known world.
Pray for us, holy Apostles Peter and Paul, “pillars” of God's Church!
And you, Queen of the Apostles, whom Rome venerates with the beautiful title of “Salus Populi Romani”, place the Christian people under your protection as they advance towards the third millennium. Support every sincere effort to promote Christian unity and watch over the journey of the disciples of your Son, Jesus.
1. "This day is holy to our Lord" (Ne 8,10). The words we heard in the first reading are well-suited to the occasion we are celebrating at this Shrine of Divine Love, so dear to the inhabitants of Rome and Lazio. Yes, this day is dedicated to God and is therefore a day particularly full of festivity and joy. The Lord has gathered us in his house to let us experience the gift of his presence more intensely. Like the Jewish people, we too, following what Nehemiah recounts, welcome his words with the acclamation "Amen, amen" and in our hearts prostrate before him, expressing our deep fidelity to his will.
We too repeat with the Responsorial Psalm: "Your words, O Lord, are spirit and life!".
The Word of God illumines the rite of dedication for this new Marian shrine, where the faithful who will gather here in prayer, especially during the Great Jubilee, will be helped to open themselves to the renewing action of the Spirit.
In this place, therefore, everything must prepare us to encounter the Lord; everything must encourage believers to proclaim their faith in Christ yesterday, today and for ever.
2. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16,16).
This is the Apostle Peter's profession of faith which we heard in today's Gospel passage. Jesus answers Peter by entrusting him with the task of supporting the whole spiritual edifice of his Church: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church" (Mt 16,18).
S. John Paul II Homil. 1042