Christian Art Today - Peter, on this rock I will build my Church

  • Patrick van der Vorst

Crucifixion of St Peter, by Caravaggio, 1601, © Church of Santa Maria del Populo, Rome

Crucifixion of St Peter, by Caravaggio, 1601, © Church of Santa Maria del Populo, Rome

Gospel of 30th June 2019

Matthew 16: 13-19

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this question to his disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of Man is?' And they said, 'Some say he is John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' 'But you,' he said 'who do you say I am?' Then Simon Peter spoke up, 'You are the Christ,' he said 'the Son of the living God.' Jesus replied, 'Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.

So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.'

Reflection on the Painting

Of all the figures in the New Testament, Saint Peter is probably my favourite one. A complex character, flawed, yet incredible driven and having a deep love for Our Lord. Peter is a man on a mission, relentlessly working, helping to spread the word of Christ to the world. Through his charismatic style, he converted thousands of people in his early ministry. His profound understanding of his own sinfulness, weakness and personal limitations, is what ultimately makes him a great saint and why Christ chose him to be His rock. St Peter is also important for the arts… bear with me, I'll explain…

To read on see:

Tags: Christian Art Today, Peter, Rock, Caravaggio

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