love the church (eph 5:25)
"I will build <U>My</U> Church." —Matthew 16:18
The Church is founded on the apostles (Eph 2:20; Rv 21:14), especially on St. Peter, the first Pope, and on St. Paul, an apostle and the first Christian missionary. Therefore, today's solemn feast day of Saints Peter and Paul is a celebration in which we thank the Lord for His great gift to us of the Church.
The Church is the body of Christ (see e.g. Eph 1:22-23) and the bride of Christ (Eph 5:25-27; Rv 22:17). The Church was founded by Jesus Himself (Mt 16:18). It belongs to Jesus and is in the process of being built by Jesus (Mt 16:18). Jesus calls the Church "My Church." Jesus has given Peter, his successors, and the Church the keys of the kingdom (Mt 16:19). The Church has Jesus' authority to bind and loose and to attack and conquer the gates of hell (Mt 16:18-19). It is "God's household" and "the pillar and bulwark of truth" (1 Tm 3:15).
The Church is "the fullness of Him Who fills the universe in all its parts" (Eph 1:23). Jesus exalts the Church by identifying with her. He proclaims that, if we listen to the Church, we listen to Him (Lk 10:16) and, if we persecute the Church, we persecute Him (Acts 9:4). Considering what the Lord has revealed to us about His Church, we must love the Church as Jesus does and lay down our lives for her (Eph 5:25).
Prayer: Jesus, give me Your heart for the Church. I will accept Your grace to forgive those members of the Church who have hurt me.
Promise: "Peter was thus detained in prison, while the church prayed fervently to God on his behalf." —Acts 12:5
Praise: "The Holy Spirit descended upon all who were listening to Peter's message" (Acts 10:44).
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape The Church in God's Plan on audio AV 67-3 or video V-67.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 29, 2012
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