Peter the rock/foundation of the church?


What does the rock in matthew 7:24 represent according to catholic teaching.


Practicing the Golden Rule. See Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 1970, footnote 26. (link)


What the catechism says is true. But a certain priest claims that the rock is reffering to peter. So does anyone know the interpretation by the church fathers, saints, or church tradition.


I didn’t find anything from ECF’s or anything. But a couple of decent commentaries basically say that the passage is distinguishing between those who hear Jesus and obey, and those who hear only. Those who hear and obey are compared to building a house on a rock. Those who hear but do not obey are compared with building a house on the sand.

One way is smart and solid. One way is not.

The rock represents the smart and solid foundation of obeying Jesus in one’s life.

(p.s. it seems a little bit of a stretch to me to find Peter in here…but I could be wrong)


I couldn’t find anything either regarding references to the ECF’s or others but here is my input.

Christ is the Rock. When he appointed Peter as the rock, a mystical marriage had taken place (the hint is given by the distinguishable masculine & feminine Greek words “Petros” and “Petra”). Peter is appointed Christ’s Vicar. The Rock is one and the same with regards to Christ and Peter, just like husband and wife join together to become one flesh. There aren’t two rocks but one Rock just as Christ and the Church make up one body.

When someone builds his house on rock, he builds it on Christ in communion with Peter. That is why Catholics must be in communion with the pope, to build their house on Christ. You can’t separate the two which is unfortunate for our separated Christian brethren.


The link is to Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea, Volume I on the Gospel of Matthew. The gospel text is in red print and the commentary quotes are in black print. Scroll down to the Matthew 7:24 text section and read the 2nd author that Aquinas quotes – Psuedo Chrysostom


What Jesus Christ said in Matthew 16:18, about Peter being the rock upon which Jesus would build His Church is certainly best understood in light of what Jesus said about a wise man building his house on a rock mentioned in Matthew 7:24. However, the elements being compared to a builder, his house and the house’s foundation are different in Matthew 7:24 and Matthew 16:18. In Matthew 7:24, the builder is any person, his house is his lifestyle, and the house’s foundation is the practice of Jesus’ words, i.e., the Golden Rule. In Matthew 16:18, the builder is Jesus Christ Himself, the house is the Church, and the house’s foundation is Peter, whose faith Jesus prayed would never fail. (Luke 22:32)


Literally? can’t forget that; it is the first way of understanding:
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock

The rock is the site of the house that a wise man builds. You have wise landowners and foolish in the world; some build houses that collapse in the rains or winds of hurricanes while others build with a view to their environment and the desire to keep the house standing. The “rock” is drawing your attention to your own experience in today’s world of the people who build buildings. It is not referring to some spiritual “rock” but it goes with the whole sentence - look around you away from your computer screen at who are wise builders versus foolish builders and look at the durability of their construction.

Then, think of the people who hare Jesus’ words. Some are doing his words, doing them virtuously; others are hearing his words and not doing them. Next, associate the doers with your view of builders - doers will endure like the buildings of wise builders, because they are hearing something that is solid, just as the rock under a wisely built building is solid; non-doers will not see life in beatitude because they are doing what is not solid, just as the sand under a foolishly built building of a foolish builder.


John Gerard is right. Read Nita’s link; that’s right too. It has nothing to do with Peter.
Jesus is the solid foundation upon which we’re to build our lives.

I could add that the foundation to build are the verses just before 7:24. Which, pretty much, is the whole of chapter 7 and also much of 5 and 6. It gives instruction on how to live a wise man’s life.

Those who hear Jesus’ words and act on them are the wise men who build on the rock, on Jesus, as stated by others.

Also, when it’s sunny no need for a strong foundation. But it will be necessary when the rains come. Interesting that it gives three ways that the foundation can fail:
7:25 The rains descended - the floods came - the winds blew.

It’s interesting to me because I always like to point out that our human misery can come from 3 different sources: Nature, other persons, ourselves.



It’s a three-fold rock. There’s Christ, Peter, and Peter’s faith.

Different church fathers chose between those three, generally.


I don’t think we can ignore the connection. According to even Protestant speaker / theologian Ray Vanderlaan, “house” was a nick-name for the Temple and was transferred over to Christianity to mean “church”. Hence we call our worship buildings the “house” of God.

Christ is laying down a principle: to obey him is wise and wise men build things to last on solid foundations.

Christ later is the epitome of the wise man (obeys His Father) and builds His Church (House) on Peter.

I think its a great insight to connect the two.

Just my $0.02
God Bless :signofcross:
Poor Knight for Christ and His Church


Thank you all for the replies. I suppose this is the reason why the magisterium has only translated certain verses :slight_smile:


Could you explain better?

You say we can’t ignore the connection. What connection? And then you mention a protestant speaker.

Are you saying that the protestant speaker is connecting The House Built On Rock with Peter?? Protestants don’t believe Peter is “the Rock”. So I don’t get the connection.



Why would the magesterium translate only certain versus?
What does that even mean?
The entire bible needs to be understood.

Well, there are maybe 2 or 3 passages that are a bit difficult to understand.



See HFD, that’s what I mean.

Why worry about church fathers??

Read the passage yourself and then come back here and tell us what you understood it to mean.

Jesus would like you to have a relationship with Him, not with the church fathers.


Fran I doubt any of us are holy enough to have that sort of relationship with god. This is why God sent the prophets in the OT and saints in our present time. All these holy peoople like the doctors , fathers, and saints of the church help us understand scripture so that we may not accept read in error and muke up our own heresy and twisted morality. That’s why I think its important to read what the church fathers, doctors, and saints have to say. Protestants beleieve that God gives them the ability to interpret scripture. That’s one of the reasons why there is more than 30000 denominations.


Good point here Fran. I forget about that too often. The original sin of Adam broke the relationship between: man/nature, man/other men, man/himself. (Man/God too, but God doesn’t cause our misery.)


Catechism of the Catholic Church
881 “The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the “rock” of his Church.”

Vatican II, LUMEN GENTIUM, 22§2
“ … For our Lord placed Simon alone as the rock and the bearer of the keys of the Church, and made him shepherd of the whole flock;”




Thanks for connecting it to original sin. Of course our misery starts there - didn’t exist before that.



I almost didn’t want to answer because the post to HFD is almost personal. She’ll know what I meant.

However, since I’m sitting here let me say a couple of things:

You don’t have to be “that holy” to have “that sort” of relationship with God. I don’t even know what you mean. I guess you mean how holy the church fathers were. We each have a relationship; to what degree and whatever it is doesn’t matter to God, as long as we want Him in our lives. Remember Jesus speaking about faith the size of a mustard seed.

You could read the church fathers all you want to. They each had their own opinion. Their own way of explaining their faith. It could make you a little nuts if you concentrate on them. Holy scripture is holy scripture; the writings of the fathers is not holy scripture.

People could come to the salvific knowledge of God in different ways, but I guarantee you that it will be mostly through hearing the word of God or reading the bible that this happens - not by reading the CCC or the church fathers.

That comes in handy after one has accepted his faith. To learn and know the faith we proclaim for our own good and to explain it to others.

It’s really difficult to make up weird heresies and twisted morality from reading the bible. This is usually done by learned persons who study and study and come up with weird ideas - for instance John Calvin.

Example: My father read the bible from cover to cover when he was about 70. Then I asked him what he understood. Get this: Man is a sinner; man is in need of God; Jesus died for us and if we follow Him we’ll get to heaven.

The bible could be read by the simplest person and it’ll speak to them, or the most intelligent and it’ll speak to them too.

Re the protestants: I used to think as you do. I’ve changed my mind since being on this forum. Most catholics don’t know their faith so I can’t have any deep discussion with most - only my catechist friends or priests. Since coming aboard here, and hearing all these differing opinions, I’m starting to feel that we’re separated into different groups too, just under one big umbrella.

I’ve witnessed first-hand confusion caused by quoting different fathers and even the CCC which was not written with simple and clear language and many times leaves questions unanswered - or how about when two people read the same pp’s and come up with two different answers!

Some people are reading the fathers and getting all mixed up and are being led away from the faith.

I’ll bet that if one reads Mathew 5, 6 and up to 7:27 with no prior knowledge, he’ll understand what it means.

All I’m saying is: Let’s have a little bit of faith in ourselves and our rapport with God.

What a chatterbox - didn’t mean to say so much! Sorry.


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