"I will build My Church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it." —Matthew 16:18
Today we celebrate that Christ made the Church. He calls it "My Church" (Mt 16:18). He has made it His body (e.g. Eph 1:22-23) and His bride (see Eph 5:27). The Church alone is "the pillar and bulwark of truth" (1 Tm 3:15). She can attack the gates of hell, which cannot prevail against her (Mt 16:18).
The Church is divinely established as apostolic. It is founded on the apostles, including Peter and Paul (Eph 2:20). The Church is episcopal. It is governed by the bishops, the successors of the apostles. The Church is papal. It is governed by the pope, the successor of St. Peter. Therefore, the Church is hierarchical and visible. The Church is also catholic, that is, universal, and therefore missionary.
It is critical to know what Jesus means by the Church, for Jesus calls us to love the Church and to lay down our lives for it, as He did (Eph 5:25). We must be sure we are giving our lives for His Church and not for what we think is His Church. Is your church the Church of Peter and Paul? Is your church the Church of Christ?
Prayer: Father, may I be "churched" by Your standards.
Promise: "The time of my dissolution is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." —2 Tm 4:6-7
Praise: Sts. Peter and Paul reconciled the Jewish and Gentile Christians into one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, January 4, 2001
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 24, 2001