Posted June 29, 2013 by FLL Editorial Team in
 
 

Peter’s Confession

Christ_Handing_the_Keys_to_St._Peter_by_Pietro_Perugino聖伯多祿及聖保祿宗徒(節日) – 瑪竇福音 16:13-19

當耶穌問門徒眾人認為祂是誰的時候,所有門徒都有回答,而伯多祿作為宗徒之首的答案是為所有人而答的:「西滿伯多祿回答說:『你是默西亞,永生天主之子』」

伯多祿憑藉一份超越其他門徒的熱誠,明認了天國的君王,的確,比起其他人,把天國的鑰匙交託給他更為適合;這令眾人知道如果欠缺這份信德和宣認信仰的勇氣,沒有人可以進入天國。耶穌所指天國的鑰匙,是一份分辨的能力和權力;權力,使他能束縛或釋放;分辨的能力,使他分辨誰值得被寬恕。這份束縛和釋放的權力,耶穌看來只交給了伯多祿,但其實祂也交給了所有宗徒,也交給了當今教會的主教和神父。伯多祿以特別的方式接受了天國的鑰匙——一份最高的審判權力,令世上所有信眾知道任何人若不與這份信仰或教宗共融,就不能從罪惡的束縛中被釋放而進入天國。

一些主教和神父不明白這經文的意義,以為他們可以像法利塞人一樣自負——可以定無辜人的罪,或寬恕有罪而不悔改的人;而事實上,天主的判斷不是基於主教和神父的判斷,而是那人本身如何生活。我們在肋未紀中看到痲瘋病人要如何給司祭檢查;如果他們真的患痲瘋,他們要被司祭定為不潔;這不是說司祭令他們得痲瘋和不潔,而是司祭知道什麼是痲瘋,什麼不是,並分辨那些人不潔。正如司祭把痲瘋病人定為不潔那樣,當主教和神父聽了人們的罪以後,他履行他的職務,分辨出誰該被束縛,誰該被釋放。

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles – Matthew 16:13-19

When the Lord inquires concerning the opinion of the multitudes, all the disciples answer; but when all the disciples are asked, Peter as the mouth and head of the Apostles answers for all, as it follows, ‘Simon Peter answered and said, “You are Christ, the Son of the living God.”‘

For as with a zeal beyond the others he had confessed the King of heaven, he is deservedly entrusted more than the others with the keys of the heavenly kingdom, that it might be clear to all, that without that confession and faith none ought to enter the kingdom of heaven. By the keys of the kingdom He means discernment and power; power, by which he binds and looses; discernment, by which he separates the worthy from the unworthy. But this power of binding and loosing, though it seems given by the Lord to Peter alone, is indeed given also to the other Apostles, and is even now in the Bishops and Priests in every Church. But Peter received in a special manner the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and a supremacy of judicial power, that all the faithful throughout the world might understand that all who in any manner separate themselves from the unity of the faith, or from communion with him, such should neither be able to be loosed from the bonds of sin, nor to enter the gate of the heavenly kingdom.

How is it that some do presume to say that these things only apply to the living? Know they not that the sentence of anathema is nothing else but separation? They are to be avoided who are held of grievous faults, whether they are among the living, or not. For it is always necessary to fly from the wicked. Moreover there are diverse letters read of Augustine of religious memory, who was of great renown among the African bishops, which affirmed that heretics ought to be anathematized even after death. Such an ecclesiastical tradition other African Bishops also have preserved. And the Holy Roman Church also has anathematized some Bishops after death, although no accusation had been brought against their faith in their lifetimes.

Some Bishops and Priests, not understanding this passage, assume to themselves something of the lofty pretensions of the Pharisees, and suppose that they may either condemn the innocent, or absolve the guilty; whereas what will be inquired into before the Lord will be not the sentence of the Priests, but the life of him that is being judged. We read in Leviticus of the lepers, how they are commanded to show themselves to the Priests; and if they have the leprosy, then they are made unclean by the Priest; not that the Priest makes them leprous and unclean, but that the Priest has knowledge of what is leprosy and what is not leprosy, and can discern who is clean, and who is unclean. In the same way then as there the Priest makes the leper unclean, here the Bishop or Presbyter binds or looses not those who are without sin, or guilt, but in discharge of his function when he has heard the varieties of their sins, he knows who is to be bound, and who loosed.

Reference:
Homily 54 on Matthew (St. John Chrysostom)
Commentariorum In Matthaeum (St. Rabanus Maurus)
Commentariorum In Evangelium Matthaei (St. Jerome)
Second Council of Constantinople


FLL Editorial Team