Matthew 16: 18-19
18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 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.”
This is another one of my favorite verses because here Jesus elevates St. Peter-previously-known-as-Simon-but-recognized-Jesus-as-the-Christ-when-no-one-else-did. He imparts authority to Peter to lead his brothers. This essentially makes St. Peter as the first pontiff, and Pope Francis can trace his authority all the way back to St. Peter, who received his authority from Jesus Himself.
It’s important to me because I can have confidence and trust that the Catholic Church maintains apostolic succession and authority from Jesus Himself. I don’t think most (any) Christian reverends, ministers, and pastors are able to say that (or even if they do, they can’t back it up), but because of laying on of hands and the unbroken line of apostolic authority in the Catholic Church, our bishops especially and their priests perpetuate Jesus’ authority.
And another thing–the Church is built on rock. Peter, which is an English-fied version of Petra, Greek for “rock”.
Back in September, I visited a Benedictine monastery in middle-of-nowhere Oklahoma. I overheard it said a few times how the founders and abbott of that monastery intend to build up the monastery and grounds to be able to last 1000 years. In other words, built to last.
While the Church isn’t necessarily the physical building (rather, she’s a living thing, an organism), it’s evident from history that she’s lasted for the past 2000 years and will keep lasting until the return of the King (not Aragorn/Elessar).
And 2000 years is already a lonnnnnnng time. Through it all, the Catholic Church has survived civilizations, won other civilizations for Christ, and has managed to endure even the greatest of persecutions even in this modern age.