Simon, son of Jonah, a fisherman, and a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, is truly our best example of what grace can do to a person (with free will) who struggles for goodness and truth despite his, or her, own numerous inherent weaknesses. And in Simon becoming 'Kepha,' we have a living Vicar of the Good Shepherd, with authority and spiritual blessings, capable of leading us through 'the gloomy valley' with the 'rod and staff' of the Holy Spirit of God's Mercy and Love, against 'the gates of the underworld,' all the Way to our salvation.
Why Peter the Rock (Kepha) was the first Pope! http://www.fisheaters.com/rock.html
Peter is our hope, hope for even the worst of sinners, despite his pride and pigheadedness, despite his persistent boasts and promises, despite his unthought out rebuke of Jesus, despite his sword-swinging ear-cutting pugnaciousness, and, especially, despite his weak and shameful denial of our Lord and Savior. This is true because Peter also witnesses to our hope in the grace of God meeting our (weak) free will in producing a 'Kepha' who witnessed in courage to the Truth of the Lord in the power of the Pentecostal Spirit, and ran to Rome (Quo Vadis) at the request of the Risen Lord to participate in the Cross of Christ, upside-down!
Today, in our midst, is a mere man of flesh and blood, graced with Authority and unique spiritual blessings to protect and lead the flock of the Good Shepherd in this 'gloomy valley' against the 'gates of the underworld,' otherwise known by St. Paul as the 'principalities and powers' of this world. The Pope is the successor of St Peter who receives 'the keys of the kingdom of heaven' and has the power to 'bind and loose.' As much as we resist admitting it, we are mere sheep in a world of ravenous wolves! But the Good Shepherd didn't leave us without a shepherd! In the Pope (and the bishops and priests--and, to a certain degree, as dad's and mom's) we are to shepherd our flock, not as a worldly dictator, but as the 'image and likeness' of the 'Suffering Servant,' a compassionate example of Love as Mercy.
Matthew 16 and the 'keys' and the power to 'bind and loose:' http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/what-do-the-words-bind-and-loose-mean-in-matthew-1619
And in the Pope we are blessed with Catholic unity in the bishops, who bring us the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, where God 'prepare(s) a table before me in the presence of my enemies.' Through the sound doctrine of the Pope, moreover, 'goodness and love pursue me (us) all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.'
The Eucharist: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05572c.htm
Thus, as 'the gates of the underworld' tempt and seduce us with 'the culture of death' and the enticements of materialism and hedonism, remember that the demonic cannot prevail against the Church of the 'Kepha' built wisely upon the Rock of Christ!
JPII and the culture of death: http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2008/dennehy_telosarticle_july08.asp
Can we say the same about our home, our life, and our family?