We hear in our first reading today from the prophet Jeremiah that God will write his law within our hearts, that all, from the greatest to the least shall know him. Yes, with the coming of Jesus Christ into our world, with the Incarnation of the Son of God, and by virtue of the baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit that we have received, God’s law, his presence, the offer of his grace, his Word is inscribed permanently in our hearts, never to be removed.
Yet, as we hear today in the Gospel where Peter makes that great proclamation of faith, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” we realize that it is only with faith that we can read that law that has been inscribed in our hearts. It is only with faith that we can accurately know of God’s presence, accept his grace, and hear his Word. It is like the eyeglasses that are on my face. I know this Gospel passage exists on the book, but I cannot read it without my glasses. Without them, the words are only a blur. So it is with the inscribed law of God within us. Without our faith it cannot be fully understood.
Peter, with faith, accurately understood what the Father had given him, namely the identity of Jesus, and in faith he could proclaim Jesus the Son of God. Only a few moments later, though, he took off the eyes of faith when Jesus began to speak of his upcoming Passion. Peter no longer looked at what was given him with faith, but rather with the “thoughts of men.” He gets it wrong and tries to impede our Lord from his mission. And Jesus reprimands him.
My friends, God’s law, his presence, his will has been inscribed in your hearts. Nuture your faith so you may accurately discern that law; so you may clearly know of the great gifts God has given you; so you may truly know the God who leads you.
Always nuture your faith. Never give it up.