When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
In this passage, Jesus confirms to his disciples that he is the Son of God. He tells them that this message comes from the Higher Power, from God himself, and not through “flesh and blood.” By flesh and blood, we infer a physical and materialistic representation of life on earth. Here Jesus implies that the rock on which he will build his church is not bound to this earth, but rather to our Father in heaven.
When Jesus tells Peter he will build his church, he is not talking about a physical building where people can gather to pray and worship every so often, but rather a community of followers, who will act as the constant, living Church family.
According to the Catechism, the Church has a mission on earth, and acts as the soul of human society on earth, which gathers a body of believers and brings our fellow brothers and sisters to Christ. Jesus gathers his living Church of followers to raise each other up in our human family here on earth, so that we may be led to heaven, our true home.
In our human family, each of us is given a role to fulfill; each person brings something to the community that we can all benefit from. Jesus asks each of us in the Church to recognize these gifts and talents in ourselves, so that we may fulfill our will on earth, as well as in our fellow brothers and sisters, so that we may also recognize the gifts they bring to our human family.
As members of our human family, the Church, we do not identify with physical church buildings, or as parts of separate communities. Instead, we are united under a single identity as one Church in the body of Christ.