““You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt 16:18-19).
These words are overwhelming. The authority which Christ hands over to the Apostles, that of the keys of the kingdom of heaven and that of binding and loosing, is given to them in the person of Peter and in union with him. An unfathomable mystery!
Today’s feast of the martyrdom of the holy Apostles reveals what is the true meaning of this authority: it is service. Peter, Paul and Andrew served even to the shedding of their blood, just as Christ had done before them: “For the Son of Man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45). The Apostles were called to participate in their Master’s service: a service by which they were able to give the ultimate testimony; a service which was their true strength, their glory in Christ who died and rose again.”