Jimmy grew up in a family where he felt strangely different from both his parents and his siblings.  The mystery was solved when he was informed that in fact, he was an adopted child. So he set out to find his real family. Finding them, at first the elders of his newfound family wanted to prove that he really belonged to them.  They asked him to wear a pair of shoes that surprisingly, fit him perfectly.  All the males of the family have only one shoe size. He truly belonged! We normally identify members of our families by our physical heredity. We share the same nose, eyes, height or color.  Exhibiting the same traits or the same qualities confirm our relationship in the family.

The gospel takes us on a fresh look at our spiritual family, our spiritual lineage.  We look at the apostles, especially Peter.  For us Catholics, Peter is important for his leadership and for his example.  In the gospel today, Jesus tells him: you Peter, are rock, and upon this rock I will build my church. Jesus is the foundation rock of our faith but Jesus knew that after he returns to the Father, he would be an invisible rock.  Jesus assigned a sign to represent him, to make him present continuously in the world.  That sign was Peter, whose faith was like a rock in its preciseness and courage.  Today Peter lives among us in his successor the Holy Father Pope Francis.

In the family of faith, we are identified by spiritual heredity – the same faith expressed by Peter:  Jesus, you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.  This is the faith of Pope Francis and the thousands of youth in each World Youth Day.  This is the faith of Catholics in Africa, in Vietnam and inside every church today.  This is the faith of families who gather together in prayer everyday or to celebrate Mass together on Sundays.  Because our faith is the same as that of Peter and his successor the Pope, then we belong!

Let us focus awhile on our spiritual heredity.  Not all of us received a strong spiritual inheritance.  Instead of faith, we inherited doubts; instead of commitment, negligence; instead of unity with the Church, distance and separation. No doubt then, that many of us are without direction in our spiritual lives and we feel lost. Our parents and elders failed to show us the true face of God and we are walking in a mist trying to figure things out. Many of us are suffering from the defective life of faith that we have received. 

If we are not careful, the same negative patterns we see in our families today will be passed on to future generations.  The Bible says that our sins affect our children and their children.  But the Bible is also quick to add that our virtuous lives today will overturn our sins and provide blessings for our families for many generations.

Today we are given a chance to do just that.  By listening to the words of Peter, we are all called to focus our lives on Jesus and ask him to make us faithful to his message and his challenge. We want to have a stronger faith, we want to live under God’s blessings.  We want to be committed to him. We want our families to be renewed in faith in the Lordship of Jesus.

There is always hope because now, we ask Jesus to give us stronger faith and so prepare the spiritual heredity of those who will come after us.