Building the Church on Revelation and Failure, Not on Opinion and Success

Building the Church on Revelation and Failure, Not on Opinion and Success August 25, 2020

Aftermath of the St. Francis Dam catastrophe
Flickr / Public Domain.


Matthew 16:13-20 for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

This day in the Gospel was the SECOND time that Christ spoke of building upon rock.

The FIRST time was at the end of his Sermon on the Mount, where he said:

Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them
will be like a wise man who BUILT his house upon the ROCK;
and the rain fell, and the floods came,
and the winds blew and beat upon that house,
but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the ROCK. [Mt. 7:24-25]

Following God in Christ is the way to build a house solidly on rock to last us unto entering the kingdom of heaven.

On the other hand, if we do not bother to work at following God in Christ, then we are building on sand a shaky house doomed to fall.

It is as Christ warns in his Sermon on the Mount.

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
On that day many will say to me,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name,
and cast out demons in your name,
and do many mighty works in your name?’
And then will I declare to them,
‘I never knew you;
depart from me, you evildoers.’ [Mt. 7:21-23]

In TODAY’S Gospel, there are two layers to the ROCK upon which to build our obedience to God.

The deepest layer is the heavenly Father revealing the Christ, the Son of the living God.

The upper layer is in Simon Peter who took in and spoke what was NOT his OPINION as a man of flesh and blood.

No, Simon Peter took in and spoke a REVELATION from GOD THE FATHER.

Simon Peter said: You are the Christ— Messiah, Anointed One— the Son of the living God.

Christ answered him:

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.
For flesh and blood has not REVEALED this to you,
but my heavenly FATHER.

Then Christ changed Simon’s name: you are Peter— Pétros, Rock— and upon this rock I will build my church.

As rain, floods and wind come to naught against a house built on rock, so the netherworld shall not prevail against the CHURCH that Christ chose to build on Peter and the revelation Peter received from God the Father.

This is the FIRST time that Christ has spoken the word CHURCH in the Gospel.

So, we must pay CAREFUL attention to what he says about building his church.

AS SOON AS Christ finished today’s words in the Gospel, he went on to tell just how building his church would happen.

Jesus began to show his disciples
that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly…
and be killed and on the third day be raised.

That is how Christ builds his church.

To the world, it seems the church is built on sand as something worth condemning and knocking down.

But Christ does not build his church out of SUCCESS, as the WORLD sees success.

Christ builds his church out of his SUFFERING AND DEATH.

It is only after the DEATH of Christ and then his resurrection that the gates of the netherworld fail to prevail against the church of Christ.

The church of Christ is not truly built by succeeding as the world sees succeeding.

No, the church of Christ is built on the rock of confessing in word and deed what God the Father wills to reveal in the suffering and death of Christ.

Only then do the gates of the netherworld… not prevail against the church.

Christ teaches and builds us through our solid union with the faith of Peter the Rock.

But even Peter the Rock had to face that Christ held it SATANIC [Mt. 16:23] to think that Christ’s suffering and death were not how Christ should build his church.

With Peter the Rock we must face that lesson as the will of the heavenly Father.

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
shall enter the kingdom of heaven,
but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Through Peter the Rock, Christ has bound and loosed us for a new and eternal covenant of doing the heavenly Father’s will by embracing communion in the suffering and death of Christ.


The church of Christ is truly built only through the COVENANT of the flesh-and-blood suffering, sacrifice and death of Christ before the resurrection of Christ over the netherworld.

Here and now we are celebrating that COVENANT.

Our taking the Body and Blood of Christ COMMITS us to renew our willing work to obey in our daily living all that the heavenly Father teaches us in Christ.


If we do not, then we are just playing with sand all the days of our life.

We might succeed in the world’s sandbox of success, but without building anything to last us into the kingdom of heaven.


Turn. Love. Repeat.



Dear Readers of “Turn. Love. Repeat.”

California where I reside had a new law go into effect on January 1, 2020. California Assembly Bill 5 forbids freelance writers, editors and photographers from providing more than 34 content submissions to a media organization per year unless the organization hires the freelancer as a salaried employee. Patheos is a media organization, and I am a freelancer. So now I must limit my posts to 34 per year, or 1 post about every 10 days.

So as not to exceed my legal limit, between my postings here at Patheos I will publish my “extra” pieces at my personal blog, Monk Notes.

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