Jesus doesn’t have the keys to the Kingdom, He IS the key of the Kingdom. What He opens, no one shall shut and what He shuts no one shall open. His sacrifice opens the gates of Heaven, and gives life to His Bride the New Jerusalem.
David had the keys to the Kingdom because he was king. His descendent the great king Hezekiah had, as kings before him, handed the authority to a prime minister. The Prime Minister that had served Hezekiah was a bad one (nothing new under the sun) and so Hezekiah fired him and handed the keys to a new man, and put the cloak of office on this new man. He gave him the keys of authority for the kingdom and said to him “What you open is opened and what you shut is shut,” and gave him the power in the king’s name for binding and loosing.
When Jesus handed His kingly power to Peter, changing his name from Simon as He did so, Jesus echoed the way Hezekiah was doing things. At the moment Jesus was handing this authority to Peter, there was already a Prime Minister in power. The High Priest sat on the seat of Moses and so Jesus had taught that because the priests had the authority handed down to them through Moses and Aaron the people must listen to them – but because they were corrupt, they shouldn’t do as they do.
The rest of the apostles were bishops or overseers. The Church in her development of the hierarchy for the massive changing needs of the Church as she grew, established Cardinals. The word cardinal means “hinge”. So as Peter and his descendents hold the keys of the gate of heaven, the cardinals are the hinges of the gate. They and the bishops work with Peter to serve Jesus and guide us lot.
Rusty cardinals could prevent people from getting to heaven. Jesus wont like that, so we had better be praying for our bishops hadn’t we?
Meanwhile the Anchoress and others have noted that the Holy Father is looking worn out at the moment. He has a huge cross to carry around thanks to the appalling sins of some priests and bishops and the sorry behaviour and attitude of too many of us Catholics. Let’s not forget to pray for him too.
My Advent and Christmas Stories part III is done. I know it’s a bit late, but there’s not a lot of “work” so much as sit and read together, so some of you might still find it useful. I cover the stories of St. Nicholas,Angels , St Wenceslas, Our Lady of Guadalupe and St Juan Diego, St. John the Baptist and a short lesson on the use of chiaroscoro in religious art. Kalei has it up on her blog so go and get it. There’s not a lot of “work” with it this time, just sofa time reading together.
Wish her a Happy Christmas – she has worked her socks off for us all this year!