Friends, today’s Gospel reports Peter’s confession of faith. In the midst of his disciples, Jesus asks that strange question: “Who do people say that I am?” What he gets by way of response is, first, a public opinion survey: some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.
Then Jesus turns to those closest to him, and he asks them, “But who do you say that I am?” They are silent, afraid, unwilling to speak. Finally it is Peter who says: “You are the Christ.” And he gets it right. Does he get it right because he is the most intelligent? Please. Because he is holy and close to Jesus? No. We know the whole story of Peter’s weakness, which is marked by betrayal and stupidity.
It is the Father who has given Peter this insight—not Peter’s clever mind or searching heart. It is a supernatural gift, a special charism. And it is upon Peter and this inspired confession that the Church is built.